By nature, we all want to be self-made men (or women). We want to do it ourselves. It doesn’t take us long to get on that jag, either. Round about 2 years of age, we started the “Me do it!” mantra. We come to Christ in complete dependence upon Him, and ideally, we need to continue in our new life with Him in that same dependence.
So, DIY? This is one of those things that’s okay for us to say to ourselves…but for others to say it to us? Not so much. We don’t like to be bossed around. And, you’ve probably found, that healthy folks like to be the ones to give such “nudges” to those of us who can’t be sick because we look healthy. Am I touching a nerve?
I remember a part from one of my favorite movies, during which the neighborhood busybody, Rachel Lynde, is giving such directives to her ailing husband. Thomas calls to her from the other room, and Rachel exclaims, “Oh, that man. If he’d just brave up and exert his willpower a little, he’d get better in no time.”
A few minutes later, he is dead.
How can this happen? Because we are all like sheep, gone astray…by nature, we turn every one to his or her own way. Sheep, in case you do not know, are willful, stubborn, stupid, near sighted, vulnerable, fearful creatures. When we have such sterling qualities collectively serving as the engine which propels us through life, no wonder we are a train wreck waiting to happen! We must have the Spirit of God to temper us. Those people who tell you to “Cowboy up” need Him too.
Next time someone says something short sighted, ignorant or unfeeling to you, ask God to help you. He can keep it from rankling in your mind and heart. He can give you perspective…that person is a sheep, just like you. Pray for them. Ask God to help you show them what compassion looks like. Quiet, humble, patient, compassion. Like Jesus did, in the face of arrogance.
As Joseph did, you can do too. Though others may mean their comments and judgments for evil (though some just do not understand…they speak without knowledge), God can use it for good. Be that “for good” in their lives. Use these occasions to beg God to teach your heart kindness.
Praying through 1 Corinthians 13 is a good place to start:
1 Corinthians 13:4 Prayer
Because love is patient…Help me to be slow to judge, but quick to listen. Hesitant to criticize, but eager to encourage,remembering your endless patience with me.
Because love is kind… Help my words to be gentle and my actions to be thoughtful. Remind me to smile and to say “Please” and “Thank You” because those little things still mean so much.
Because love does not envy or boast, and it is not proud… Help me have a heart that is humble and sees the good in others. May I celebrate and appreciate all that I have and all that I am, as well as doing the same for those around me.
Because love is not rude or self-seeking… Help me to speak words that are easy on the ear and on the heart. When I’m tempted to get wrapped up in my own little world, remind me there’s a great big world out there full of needs and hurts.
Because love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs… Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. When I want to hold onto a grudge, gently help me release it so I can reach out with a hand of love instead.
Because love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth…Help me stand up for what is right and good. May I defend the defenseless, and help the helpless. Show me how I can make a difference.
Because love always protects and always trusts… Help me to be a refuge for those around me. When the world outside is harsh and cold, may my heart be a place of acceptance and warmth.
Finally, because love always perseveres… Help my heart continually beat with love for You and others. Thank you for showing us what the word love really means. Amen.
By Holley Gerth