With much rejoicing, the past week was not a Pushback week and my children were back to normal levels of disrespect and disobedience! Seriously, though, whatever was possessing them for those few days did pass and life has not been as intense. I am grateful.
Since calm was restored, the Lord decided it would be a good time to bring up something I need to face, but usually don't know what to do with. I am a terribly judgmental person. Every situation I encounter I immediately make assumptions and conclusions that influence how I interact in the environment. My pride causes me to fear or pity, feel inadequate or self-righteous. Hopefully at least one of you dear readers can relate to what I'm talking about! (Though, for your sake, I do hope none of you are not as proud and stubborn as I am.)
I struggle to keep loving others at the forefront, because I have such great affection for my opinions and, well, myself! Usually the way I deal with this sin is by feeling bad about how awful I am and making some useless vow to try not to judge people in the future. You can laugh; I think it's laughable too. Self-pity and self-help can't bring lasting change. Another way I've tried to address it in the past is by meditating on verses about not judging others. The Bible's always a good idea, right? But again, I use the verses to try to make the change myself.
Friends, we need more than words to transform us. We need The Word! I mean, I often size up people and situations before I know what I'm doing; there's no time to think about whether or not I'm going to choose God's way or mine. My will is so quick to assert itself! Have you noticed that about habitual, ingrained sin? It's so hit-and-run, leaving us feeling battered, guilty, and confused.
The Good Lord was helping me to think thought these things this week and moving me toward being OPEN to some new ways of thinking about this particular issue. Because, see, I really do love people and want to become one of those folks who loves everyone with the love of Christ and who values them over and above her own opinions and insecurities. I firmly believe God can make such transformations in us if we remember a couple of things:
- God loves me. If we belong to God though faith in Christ, we are His child. No longer orphans looking for love in all the wrong places, we are secure in His family! There is no reason to fear abandonment or to look for love based on our behavior. Remembering who we are in Christ - while we were still sinners He died for us - protects us from the insecurity or superiority that pride offers us as the only ways to relate to others. We are LOVED!
- Repentance is a life-long practice. This brought me such hope this week. I felt God saying to my weary, sinful soul, Hey, when you catch yourself in sin, repent! I forgive. What comfort! I may not be able to catch myself before I start making judgments, but when I notice what I'm doing, I can quickly shoot a prayer up to heaven: Lord, forgive me for my sinful habit and use this situation to your glory, not mine. Repentance draws us near to God and to others.
I must be off this morning, but have been dying to share this with you this week, because I know some of you get stuck like I do. Hopelessness can settle in quick! But with the Lord, there is always hope. Redemption and restoration are kinda His thing.
Know peace, today, friends. You are not alone, will never be abandoned, and any moment is a great moment to repent and believe the good news!
Time to Take Action:
Here are some great verses for meditation. The way I have the one section memorized is this, but with you there is forgiveness, therefore you are feared. Let relating to God in humble repentance be the beginning of transformation. I'm gonna be doing that right along with you! It is good, good, good, good news that the Lord keeps no record of sins. I mean, seriously, who could stand?!
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
~Psalm 130 1-5