Hey friends, how are you today? How was your weekend? How was mine, you ask? I’m not sure where to start! It was very busy and very complicated. Feelings were involved and I had to remind my loved one that no one promised us a pain free life. We were never promised a life without trials and tribulations. As a matter of fact, we were told that pain and hurt are inevitable in this life. Pain is difficult to accept when we feel it can’t be justified. When we know we don’t deserve the pain inflicted by others, forgiveness can be difficult.
We also have a case of COVID-19 in our house and that has been a bit restrictive. But before all that, the girls and I visited the farmers market with family and also did some mall shopping which I thank the Lord for because we went into lockdown soon after.
That’s my weekend, how was yours? In the book of Esther, I love reading about the women of the Bible. Anyway… I got to Haman’s hatred toward Mordecai in chapters 5 and 6. I mean he absolutely hated Mordecai. He was so filled with hatred that he built ‘gallows’ so that he can have him hanged… Did you know that during the Persian reign, ‘hanging’ was a kind of impalement on a stake, that was usually left around for the public’s viewing (something, I’m sure, they were not thankful for) so that others would be discouraged from committing the same or a similar offense. Can you imagine hating someone to that extent? In Haman’s defense, he didn’t know the Lord, therefore that’s not surprising.
Yet there are some of us, Christians, who will withhold forgiveness and grace and mercy from others because well… they don’t deserve it. They’ve not groveled enough; we’ve determined they are not repentant enough. Do we not understand that with love; patience and grace, mercy and forgiveness must exist? We can’t love others, if we allow anger and bitterness or even sanctimonious self righteousness to control our actions. We know it’s self-righteousness because we use every justification to avoid forgiving that person. The truth is people will hurt us and there are times, these people will be of the household of faith. There are times, I will say something without thought and there are times when I will be intentional in my actions and you may be hurt, justifiably so, BUT I’m sorry to say, it is against the Word of God to withhold forgiveness from me.
He does say, in Proverbs 15:1, ‘a soft answer turns away wrath’. We run to our Lord, we tell Him how we feel, we ask Him to forgive us for harboring these emotions and to replace it with the characteristics that best exemplify Him. And He does just that!
As Christians, the Lord has placed us in His family. He has given us sisters and brothers all over the world, in all walks of life. Some come with a past, that will take some time for the Lord to chisel out and others are still babies in their walk. Some do not look like us, some don’t talk like us, some do not have the same social status, but still, we are a family. In order to live harmoniously in this family, the Lord has given us the same standards across the board. No one is exempted. No one is entitled in spite of the fact that we may have walked with Him far longer than this other person. The Lord continues to extend much grace and mercy to us, leaving us without excuse when it’s our turn.
When the girls were younger and constantly bickered with each other, I remember sharing a saying with them that my mom told us, when we were kids ourselves. If we can’t get along with our siblings, we really can’t get along with anyone else. If we can’t treat our siblings with the care and compassion with which we’ve been taught and tasked, then the world truly is lost. We are a family, let’s treat each other with respect and gentleness, regardless of where they are spiritually. Believe it or not, no one is perfect, we are all subject to falling short of the glory of God. We all need to remember BUT GOD… Sin is against God, not against man. He forgives sin and takes it as far east is from the west. He sent His Son to take our sins and pay the price and stand in our place for something He never did. Yet He gently draws us back to Himself when we fall short. Do we think we are better than God? That we have the right to verbally beat other sisters and brothers until we draw blood? All in the name of God? Which god do we represent? Certainly not the God who freely forgave our sins and continue to do so still today.
There is a very unique verse in the Bible; James 2:10 to Him that knows… God called me to teach, He didn’t call everyone. He tasked us with kids, He didn’t call every family. He called us to homeschool, He didn’t call everyone. He called us to serve in our local church, not with the same calling of everyone. He’s called me to work with both kids and ladies, these are specific to me, not everyone. I don’t have the right to place everyone in my box and say that’s the Lord’s will. That’s His will for my life, it may not even be His will for my kids. One thing that never changes: love everyone. Love shows itself in our actions.
Let’s choose to be kind to each other. Let’s choose to encourage and build up each other. Let’s choose to take our hurt and our pain that others have perhaps done against us to the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s tell Him of our pain. Surely this Just God is able do battle for us. Let’s choose to stand in the gap for others. Let’s choose prayer instead of strife. I heard today, real strength does not come from pushing people down but rather strength is shown when we build each other up. After all, what do we have to lose, when we obey the Word of God?
We have been called to ‘warn them that are unruly’ but that must come with much grace and mercy, knowing that we could be next.