Friday, August 23, 2013

A matter of perspective

Acts 24:24-25 (NIV)

Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”
Righteousness and self control are elements of my life I try work on regularly… but I don’t exactly warm to other people lecturing me about either. How tempting it is to only address my shortcomings when it’s convenient and otherwise try to dismiss them quietly. And how about the “That’s enough for now! You may leave” attitude? How many times have my kids expressed that exact sentiment while I’m trying to teach them right from wrong?

Many parents who believe in God have at least once suggested the love they have for their child helped them appreciate the love God must have for creation. That’s the warm and fuzzy side. Then there’s the alternative — the realization that when my children spurn me they’re letting me know exactly how I treated my own parents, and also how I treat God. That’s neither warm nor fuzzy.

I think often about the command to love my neighbors as myself, and sometimes it’s actually easier to follow that one than the command to love God with all my heart, mind, body and strength. It should be easy to return that unconditional love, but it just isn’t. I’m weak and imperfect and I make mistakes. What I need to do is try and have patience for the world the way God has patience for me. If only living it out were as easy as writing it down.

A prayer for August 23:

Lord, teach me your way. Lead me in a straight path. Grant me patience — both for my own shortcomings and in my interactions with others. Remind me to slow down and experience life before jumping to conclusions, speaking without thinking and acting without concern for what damage I might be doing. Reveal to me and through me a better way to live and love. Amen.

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