2 Corinthians 5: 16-20 states "Because of this decision (to follow Christ ~ my words) we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself (Thank you Jesus!) through the Messiah giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you. How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God."
My lessons in life this year have been one long stream of this scripture.
Faced with the problems of others and how to balance ministering to others outside of my home has been a stretch. Be a light! That's a pretty broad term. How do you work that in to every day responsibilities without being out of balance?
The solution is in the verse above. "In Christ."
First, by seeking His daily wisdom and guidance through the Holy Spirit. Then obeying what He has shown you through scripture and meditating on it.
How do you minister to those who treat you badly? The same way.
One would tell you to stay away from the abusive. Keep yourself at arms length from those who continue to verbally abuse you, or treat you with unkindness. Or for those who slander you. For me, this is the ultimate betrayal. Pouring out your life into another person's life and have them turn around and lie about you behind your back. The worst.
But, Christ has taught us differently. He loved us intimately as he was being beaten, scorned and abused.
What do you do when you come face to face with a hurting, bitter or unlovable person?
I'm not a stranger to chaos. That begets rage, which then begets more enraged people.
It's not my own self control that has kept me from raging now. I have my moments. It's the power and grace of the Holy Spirit through prayer and staying in the word of God which keeps reminding me that no matter what, people deserve a fresh start. Like the fresh starts He gives me. Day by day, moment by moment.
Difficult circumstances can leave us stressed and worn out. Depressed and anxious. These are real and valid emotions resulting from a sin cursed world. These feelings reflect the desert that results when we don't spend enough time with the One who CAN help us circumnavigate that vicious person in your life. Or that harsh circumstance of disease, injustice, need, poverty, rumors of war, lack of loving-kindness. God is seeking us in that problem. He is looking to de-stress, comfort, love, purify, console, correct, cleanse, teach us and increase our faith.
Who are we battling really? The lack of Christ in ourselves. He has given us more then we need to live a life successfully in Him.
So next time you find yourself in a rage or responding to someone else in a malicious way, let it go. And, embrace the fresh start God has given to you through His son Jesus Christ. Our Peacemaker.
God bless you this year with a river of His peace and more of Him!