I’m currently in the midst of a very personal and emotional situation. The situation involves love, loss, happiness and hurt. It involves friends, lovers, and perfect strangers who all have one thing in common: we are all human. Yes, while it often pains us to admit it, we all make mistakes. We all act out of emotions and speak out of anger. We all fall. We have our hearts broken. We change our minds. We change our lives. Sometimes, the things that we’ve learned from all of life’s experiences are put to the test. It looks like now, that time is here. Pop quiz: What have we learned? More than one of us has recently began a relationship with the Lord. What has He taught us in considerably short time? How much of what we’ve heard in church, have we remembered to carry with us throughout our daily lives?
Personally, the things that are sticking with me (in relation to this topic) are that God does not want me to judge others (Luke 6:37), that we are to forgive each other as He forgave us (Colossians 3:13), that God wants me to love others (John 13:34), that we are to be at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18), and . This is not a new situation that I am dealing with, just an updated version to something that has been being dealt with for nearly two months now. However, it is time for things to draw to a close, whether that means resolving the issues or losing the friendships. One way or another, things have to stop going on as they have been. I fear that there will be more pain. I fear that there will be more loss. I fear that there will be more anger. By these expectations, I am saddened.
As I sat, trying to determine how I would best handle my part of the issues at hand, I realized that I can’t do it alone. If I am about to hurt a friend, or lose a friend, or lose a handful of friends, there is no way that I can do it alone. I need Gods help. I need God. I arrived at one question: What does God want us to do? Not only myself, but what does He want us all to do now? How does he want us to handle this situation?
He has told us not to judge one another
In Luke 6:37, Jesus said,
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.”
What a simple concept, but have you ever really tried it? It’s actually quite difficult to no judge people. Many times, I’ve found that we don’t realize how often we are really judging people. Whether your mind roams with great detail, or just a quick flash, there’s a good chance that you make a judgment the instant that you meet a new person. In fact, I’ve very recently done this myself. I was told about a girl by a mutual friend, and based on some of her friends and where she spent her time, I passed a judgment that she was a liar and a drug addict. Hardly fair, but I was unwavering in my opinion….until I met her, that is. Through meeting her, I learned very quickly that she is a very nice person. I learned that she had been waiting for God to enter her life, and she didn’t hesitate for a moment once He did. I would hate to lose her from my life. I hope to grow in our friendship, and help each other to grow in other areas of our lives as well. How I wish that my judgment of her was a one-time slip-up. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Another friend of mine made a bad choice or two over the past year. Somewhere along the line, I subconsciously decided that she was a lost cause, no longer worthy of my friendship. From my new perspective (which I just gained in the last hour), I am sincerely disgusted with myself. While I’ve spent the past month growing closer to God, there was a stumbling block in the way, that sadly, I had placed there myself and I didn’t even realize it. Not until I was quoting scripture to my husband did I realized the hypocrisy that was pouring from my mouth.
“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brothers eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” -Matthew 7:3
Ironic that it happened to be this situation that reminded me of that verse. How fortunate I am that this leads me onto my next point:
God wants us to forgive each other
The first verse to cross my mind on this subject, was Colossians 3:13, which says,
“bearing with one another and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”
God has forgiven us for all of the things that we have ever done wrong, if we have repented. His son died to make that possible. Jesus was put on the cross so that we could go out and make mistakes and fail Him, and still be able to go back to Him and be welcomed into His loving arms again. Just as your earthly parent would love you and welcome you home, even after you sneak away to do something that they don’t approve of. Thinking about what was done for us, it doesn’t seem like much to ask that we simply forgive somebody. Just don’t hold that grudge. Here again, I must admit that I’ve been failing God. I’ve been holding onto a grudge against someone. Not even a person who wronged me, but simply a friend who made a choice that I didn’t agree with. How senseless. This too can be referred back to Matthew 7:3– I was so busy focusing on what she had done, that I didn’t notice this huge mistake that I was making. How grateful I have no choice but to be, knowing that God will take me back into His arms, even after I’ve wronged Him in this way. Again, it wasn’t much to ask to just forgive…but I hadn’t done it anyways.
God wants us to love one another
John 13:34 says,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Here again, a simple thought becomes far less than “simple”. Think about it. When was the last time you were driving down the highway and somebody cut you off? I bet your reaction wasn’t, “Oh, I love that person”. When your doctor repeatedly cancels an important appointment with you, Are you going to call them to share your loving response to such news? Probably not. Yet again, I’m guilty of this as well. 1 John 4:20 says,
“If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
That verse is another that stays in my mind, quite often to use as a weapon when I see others displaying anger toward another person. There’s that speck in my eye again! But God has forgiven me, just as He will the next time that I repent my sins to Him. There are people in my life that I don’t exactly get along with. Family, in fact. While I still make my mistakes, I am growing in the knowledge of how to handle such problems. Where once I would fight and argue over such instances, now I have found that those solutions are unnecessary. I can safely put distance between myself and those who I do not see eye to eye with, and we can both live without the unpleasant tension. I’m sure you’ve heard that some people are easier to love from a distance? Well sometimes that is true. By having this space between myself and these certain people, we have been able to avoid the disagreements and fights that would generally lead to even more trouble, and we can co-exist with no problem. It doesn’t require drastic measures to make this love possible, it just takes some time, thought and effort. Now lastly,
God wants us to be at peace with everybody
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” -Romans 12:18
This verse is very new to me. I have been reciting it to myself daily, not out of desire to practice or to memorize it, but because I seem to often find myself in situations where it is something that I need to be reminded. “If possible”, if there is any way that you can do this. “So far as it depends on you”, yes, some people are unwilling to make peace, but if there is anything that you can do to make it, DO IT. “Be at peace with all men”, How can you simplify that statement? “Be at peace with all men”. Don’t look for disagreements. Don’t do mean things to people. Don’t give people a reason to feel anything other than peace where you are concerned. As a teenager-well, even now, but not to the same extent-I was a “button pusher.” Not the type who can’t go into a toy store without causing trouble, that would be my husband. No, I am the type of “button pusher” who likes to force conflict. As an adult, it has become a tool to encourage conversations that need to be had with my husband. As a teenager however, it was a way to rebel. If there was a way to make people dis-like me, I probably tried it. Cutting people off in traffic, racing them, and shooting off my smart mouth–oh the tongue, that could carry me onto a while other blog. If I could give people a reason not to like me, at least then I wouldn’t be insecure and wondering “Why?”, if we didn’t get along. If I knew then what I know now… “be at peace with all men”. God wants us to all be at peace. He doesn’t want trouble and strife. As a good book says, we were “made for more.” So as I move forward with what could be the beginning of the end of a period of my life, I must keep in mind that as long as I strive to please God, I can do no wrong, and the same goes for anybody else. If you have no other goal in life, try it out-try to make God happy.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” -Colossians 3:17