I've learned a lot over the past couple of weeks. None of it the easy way, of course. I never do.
Biggest newsflash I got this week: I am no better then anyone else.
I don't believe I have lived my life in a way that I intentionally, selfishly thought "Oh ho hum, I'm so much better than anyone I've ever met", but subconsciously I struggle with finding my actions to be more justifiable and well thought out then others'.
I spent some time today thinking about why and in what circumstances I typically think I'm better then someone, and decide that someone is undeserving of my love or friendship. And it's almost always that they've hurt me or someone I love.
Which brings me to a side-note on something of my character. Since I can remember, I've had a real problem with injustice. Injustice against myself, injustice against those I love, injustice against those incapable of defending themselves."It fires me up to an unflattering degree" is how I usually describe this about myself. I'm still not quite sure why, or where this came from, but it's there. If you wrong me, it's difficult for me to forgive, allow for Jesus and His grace to show through me, and to do the Christ-like thing. Same goes for if you treat someone I love badly. You may as well have done it to me. If I can maybe reign this attribute in a little bit, I think it could actually be a good thing about myself, but right now it's just a stumbling block that prohibits me from loving people like Jesus does.
Side-note over. In a nut shell, when someone offends me or wrongs another that I love, my immediate reaction is to bump them down a substantial number of spots in my heart, revoke my love towards them, and honestly, probably treat them pretty crappy.
God finally got my attention on this today. He used a verse from our bible study on Monday to do it:
"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it. The world and all it's people belong to Him." -Psalm 24:1
It just hit me. That girl that I can't stand, that I can't even hear her name without bitterness rising up in me; she's God's, just like I am. Who am I, being just as sinful and unworthy as she, to judge her, slander her name, and be totally and completely unwilling to let ANY grace show from me to her? And trust me, there's not just one person that I have failed at this with. I don't want to count, I might get sick.
And while yes, these people may have "wronged" me or someone else in my human eyes, it still doesn't matter.
My flesh is dying to say nasty things about these people, to cling on to this self-proclaimed justifiable bitterness, to never, ever, ever give them any kind of chance at redemption or the possibility of being a friend of mine, but my spirit is starting to know better. My spirit is starting to see that I am no more deserving then they. My spirit is finally seeing that my call is to be different.
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." -Luke 6:32-36
Thank God He's making me