August 27, 2012

be kind

I read once, "Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Initially I thought this had the sounds of a works based effort kind of success. Be a good person because, karma's going to get you. But the more I thought about it the more my heart broke at the truth of that statement. Isn't that how Jesus walked on this earth? Recognizing that everyone he met was broken, needing salvation, needing grace. People are fighting battles they never imagined they would be fighting. The death of a child, financial bondage, strained relationships, sickness, worry about the future, loneliness. No two battles should be compared because no two people are alike. By elevating your struggles you're minimizing theirs and treating other people as if "they just don't understand" or "this is harder for me" you're robbing them of the opportunity to experience rich grace. 

The most beautiful thing about grace is that it meets you directly in your need. [And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16] Unlike individual struggles and battles the grace doesn't differ from person to person. The gospel doesn't make light of need or hurt, no matter how big or small, Jesus is standing there, calling all who are weary, all who are broken hearted to come to him. Should this not shape how I love others? 

Should my view not be, "Be kind, be loving, extend grace, show mercy, because Christ loves that person and they need to be reminded of that. There in the trenches right now, they are fighting a hard battle."

Father forgive me for seeing my own needs above the needs of others. Forgive me for being quick to judge motives and forgetting that things are normally what they are, not what I think they might be. Help me to slow down and be patient with those people that are hard to be patient with. Guard my heart from discouragement, help me to look back on scripture and see the rich promises you fulfilled, help me to eagerly anticipate future fulfillment of your promises. I want to love like you do, and I can only do that if I'm looking to you, meditating on your word and depending on your grace. You are faithful, you are loving, you provide, your gospel does not change. Guard my heard against condemnation, because today I'm more aware of where I've failed in these areas then how you can redeem those failed attempts, selfish motives and bitter silence.

So today I'm coming to you low, realizing that I cannot handle today on my own. Comforted that your cross has crushed all condemnation and discouragement is merely a flashing arrow pointing me back to yourself. In you and only you does my soul find rest.

[May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has deliver us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son in whom we have redemption , the forgiveness of sins.] Colossians 1:11-14

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