Here's what i've been thinking about these days. We live in an Oprah Winfrey kind of world where we are taught to believe that if we take care of ourselves first that life will be great...because we are happy. And i can't stand that mentality. In fact, i think it is everything that is wrong with this world.
I am acutely aware of the fact that God has placed me in a situation where i have alot of people in my life who are looking out for number one and number one only. Its always about what I didn't get, or who let me down. Honestly, I am completely frustrated and overwhelmed with it all. I try to remind myself to respond with love and continue to turn the other cheek, that they may not know God's word and i want to show love by extending grace and forgiving and loving and doing for others. But, like everything, its hard because i am a human too. A selfish and sinful human. And somedays i just want to unload on those people and let them know how their actions have effected others. Yes, who we are as people effect others too...its a beautiful concept but an easily forgotten one.
There are many days that i feel a physical heaviness at the burden of compensating for all the selfishness by retaliating with love. As always, i am at war with myself. I want to respond by acting how i feel but try to choose to do what is right. In fact, i think i actually error to the extreme opposite end of the spectrum. I tell myself "i'll carry their burden so they don't have to hurt". I do an injustice on the opposite side, i suppose.
We are who we are because of situations we have been in, families we have grown up with, genetics, God's grace, feelings that have been acknowledged or ignored and choices we have made. I know so many of us like to blame our "situation" for how or why we react and respond the way we do, but i don't buy it. We all have a choice. We can choose to overcome, choose to turn the other cheek, choose to embrace instead of hurt and choose to love.
When we read through the Bible, it is taught over and over to love one another. Its that easy, and that difficult. Love. And believe me, i don't feel like that is a natural response that i have to those who offend me, but one i have chosen (or am trying) to take. Yes, we all get mad and we all are hurt...thats okay, but how we respond to that hurt is where our integrity comes through. Do we sin in our anger? Probably. Does God teach us to do so?...Definitely not. Psalms 4:4 "In your anger do not sin..." God isn't telling us that we can not be angry about a situation, but that we can not sin because of it. Ephesians 4:31-32 "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you." I mean, i could go on and on. Seriously the Bible is strict on this one (and everything else) its a big deal. God is repeatedly teaching us to Love Him first and others second. When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment in the law? He answered "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love you neighbor as yourself '." (Matthew 22:37-39)
Its not easy. Period. We are all sinners who have fallen short, but that doesn't give us the excuse or allow us to embrace our sinful nature and to stop trying. (Man, now as i get typing i am thinking bout a hundred things that i want to say and so many points that go off of this and thoughts that i have had and would love to discuss, but i'll try to stay on task )
I guess my point is this. We don't get good as enough, its simply isn't. The bar is set so high and God calls us to obey his commandments. Period. Its not about our busy schedules, our lack of or abundance of money and especially not about what we feel like doing. We are on this earth to make disciples of all nations. This is my temporary home. (did NOT mean to reference that Carrie Underwood song) I am just passing through and i will ignore all of my human feelings that start with the sentence "What about me?" God promises us persecution, but he also promises us a great inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-waiting for us in heaven. We have hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We need to keep ourselves in God's love as we wait for the Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring us into eternal life. (Jude 1:21)
I have read and clung to these few verses as i have been experiencing fear in my own life (thats a whole other blog...and I'll write about it someday)
Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 10:36 "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."
And finally Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for HE WHO PROMISED IS FAITHFUL"
Those last few words have honestly changed my world. I cling to them and love them. His promises bring joy and hope through our faith in Him, but they also promise an eternal death for those who do not put their hope in Him. Thats powerful. He who promised is faithful. To me, those might just be some of the most powerful words ever written in the Bible.
That's whats on my heart. Do unto others. Lets just do it. Don't wait until someone is on their death be to reminisce on the days gone by and all the opportunities you missed to serve, connect, encourage, lift up, embrace, and love those people. Because by then, it will be too late...
Obviously we aren't going to get it right all of the time, but come on...is anyone even think about what they can do for others any more? Do we ever think out side of our secure house with our kids and shcedules to look for someone who is in need?
We have a heavy load to carry as Christians in this world. We are held to a higher standard because we are representatives of His kingdom.... But we also have the promise of a Father...And for me, that alone is worth all the persecution i will endure this short time on earth.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)