That is what I have been asking myself the last couple of days. Waiting for divine inspiration to strike, some profound insight to share and I’ve been coming up empty. But this morning as I was cleaning the kitchen I finally came up with the “next post.” (Running isn’t the only place to find the stillness and hear from God, it’s just my preferred place. To me it is a lot more enjoyable than cleaning!) I realized a couple of things. I can’t force this. Otherwise it isn’t going to be authentic and genuine which are two things that I strive to be above all. If I start forcing things, it becomes more about me and less about God. As I was wiping the counters down I was reflecting on the week. What a week of ups and downs, some arguing with God, some pleading with God, and some rejoicing in God’s goodness.
Here is my question for the day. Have you ever argued with God? And as a follow-up, how did that work out for you? Recently, I was railing against God. I was being asked to be the “hands and feet” in a very real sense to someone who I really didn’t feel like loving. I was throwing up all kinds of excuses and arguments trying to get out of the task that laid before me. “God, you don’t understand. I have been hurt. God, I have tried to share your love with them, your Word. It continues to get thrown back in my face. I fall flat everytime.” I wanted to quit trying, quit opening up the door for hurt. The problem was I knew what the right thing to do was but I just kept protesting to God. This one-sided argument had been going on for awhile as I was grumbling around and then as if the thoughts rattling around in my very human brain were the Red Sea, they parted and I had this one single thought.
“But if not you, who?”
God wins again. I realized that if there was anyone who understood turning the other cheek, loving in spite of, and never giving up on someone no matter how many times they turn away it was God. He does understand and was calling me to be more like Him and love them the way He has loved me, offer them the same mercy and grace and forgiveness He has offered me. He was providing me an opportunity to show through actions the person I claimed to be through words and I was complaining about it. I have to admit, this lesson stung a little bit. No, let me correct that. This one stung quite a bit. Swallowing my pride and admitting to God that I was wrong is incredibly difficult.
So there you have it. Honesty offered to complete strangers. Maybe you can learn from my lessons and avoid the sting of pride and self-righteous anger towards others. Forgiveness is hard, especially when the person you are offering forgiveness to really has hurt you but it’s what we are called to do. How many times? Seventy times seven, as many times as it takes. Walking away is the easy way out. Ambivalence doesn’t hurt the way forgiveness can. What if that was the way Jesus left things though? Who will reach out in the name of Jesus to those who don’t know His love, His mercy, His salvation?
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’[r] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies![s] Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends,[t] how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. (Matthew 5:43-47, NLT)
It will only come through the love of God that we can love the unlovable in our lives. But if we take the first step He will provide the way. We are called to be different.
So, if not you, who?