Today, the Holy Spirit has been all about some correction, re-orientation in my life. And its warranted. Today, I am aware of how bent on sin my heart can be. Its been made clear to just how harsh I can be toward people - if only in my head; which is no different than if I said those things directly to those people.
Today it is one person in particular. It is unnaturally easy to not like him. Not right... but unbelievably easy. See, it would appear from our interactions that he indeed hates me. Or at the very least, he wishes to have nothing to do with me; which is nigh impossible seeing that we work together. Every day.
So combine his disdain for me, my innately defensive self and the outcome is pretty predictable. I don't like him. In fact, if I am honest, scarily honest ... it feels at times that I hate him back.
At that honest thought, my soul got slapped. The first time I honestly evaluated my feelings toward him, my mental words to him, etc ... the Holy Spirit stepped in. CONVICTION! Strong, in my face conviction. My mental dialog (directed by the Spirit) went something like this ...
Wow! I really do feel that way about him. Ehh, that scares me! God, please don't let me feel this way toward him. He doesn't deserve that. ... He doesn't deserve to be hated or even disliked any more than I deserve that. Because we are the same... We are the same... Ouch, I don't like admitting that. But we are. Jesus died for both of us, Jesus loves him just as much as he loves me. Jesus wants him to be save just as much as he wanted to save me! The only difference between us ... Jesus has ransomed my life, and he is still refusing Jesus.... if even he has ever heard of Jesus' good news. God forgive me. Forgive me for feeling of hatred toward him. God, help me to see him as you see him; to see him as once you saw me. Forgive me for my wrathful thoughts toward him, for condemning him when you have proclaimed that I am not condemned before you! Help me to treat him as you have treated me. God, let me be Jesus to him.Even as I am writing this, verses are coming to my mind. Verses that describe me and Barney (not his real name) ... "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit" (1 Pet 3:18). Also, "And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners'" (Mark 2:17).
I am complete unrighteousness without Jesus. I am totally sick and dying because of sin without Jesus! Barney is the same ... he is unrighteous and sick, in need of a Savior to cleanse and heal. There is no difference between us, I am no better than he. He is no worse than me. The only difference in that God in Jesus Christ my wonderful Savior has looked down upon me and poured out mercy, redeeming me despite that I constantly & rebelliously shake my fist at Him as I try to rule my life!
Jesus saves to the uttermost ... at the moment of first trust in his great sacrifice and love and today and every day, constantly redeeming me with the everlasting outcry of his blood on my behalf.
Knowing all this, the least I can do is love Jesus by loving Barney, and not stooping to the level of my fleshly reactions. But rather, I can turn it over to the Holy Spirit to treat him with the utmost respect and calmness, that I might win his friendship and be a light unto Christ for him.
O Jesus, work in us both!
Thankful for correction.