I am thankful for perspective. And for His grace.
This past week someone in my life was extremely rude and offensive to me and to my family– to the point that I would fall asleep thinking about what I wish I could say to them, outraged at their bold unkindness, and wake up still formulating the things I wish I could say in a world with no consequences. Have you ever had such an encounter? The Lord put a check on my Spirit to hold back, but that didn’t seem fair. Why should I have to be the mature one while they, decades older, got to “get away with” being unapologetically smug, unreasonable, and offensive? And not for the first time!
This morning in church, the pastor preached on Grace; my favourite thing 🙂 And Jesus whispered to my soul about these harsh feelings in me. Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you know is fighting their own battle... This includes me. I thought about how we are all so uniquely broken, including me, and if we aren’t careful, the broken shards in us poke out and cut and wound those around us. I thought about how bullies are never bullies for no reason at all, but out of their own pain, their own shame, they have learned to relate to those around them in this “mean”, unapproachable way, to refuse to reason kindly, to close their ears and spew hatefulness so no one gets too close to see where they’re broken… I thought about how we’re called, because of His love and His grace, to hold our hands against the wounds of a bleeding world. Even when it’s our own blood being spilled in the brokenness. Perhaps even more so when it’s our own blood being spilled, as that’s when we’re most tempted otherwise to lash out and cause as much pain as we’ve been caused and then when does it ever stop?
I’m thankful for this perspective He gave quietly while I was sitting in church this morning– thankful that we get to choose how we respond and choose the kind of character we will act with. That we don’t have to be ruled by revenge or hurt pride. That we don’t have to end up being just as inconsiderate, rude and smug as what offended us in the first place. That we can choose to look at our offenders with the compassion of the Kindest King, knowing that we too have at times been rude and hurt people around us. And all because of His grace, which reached down into our broken world and gave us a little bit of His Kingdom to keep us, to hold its hands against our wounds, til we can live there in full. “For the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
So thankful that He left us the Spirit…. and for the perspective it can give us. So thankful for how choosing compassion frees me to have peace instead of anger and defensiveness. So thankful for Him who willingly teaches us how to love over and over and over again. Lord, how I need You. Never stop…