“For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Titus 3:3-7 NKJV
I am not very patient. I remember my job I had before I became disabled. I worked with adults with a wide range of disabilities. Seems fitting, now that I look back at it. Many of those I worked with had severe behavioral issues, and required a lot of grace to be able to effectively deal with them. When I first started working there, I was given to quick reactions to the behaviors of my clients. I would have that knee jerk reaction, and ultimately create more problems than I solved.
I was at a place where I was not able to get past the behavior I saw, and see the person within. I had no idea what they were going through, no idea what worries or concerns were present in their lives, only that they were doing things that made MY life difficult. I was selfish. In reality I had more in common with my clients than I cared to admit.
Dealing with behaviors of others on that job was all part of God’s refinement process, that began with my leaving a difficult stint as a teacher at a local children’s mental facility, a rugged ten months as a program director at a local group home, and finally as a workforce development counselor. As I was refined, I began to see my own struggles, my own difficulties. I realized that I was one that required tremendous grace from others. I like the way Paul starts the passage I read today in Titus, as he reminds readers of their position before they came to know Jesus.
I know that I brought nothing to the table when Jesus saved me from sins. I had no merit, no reputation, and on my best day I was worthy of hell. As I have gotten closer to God, He has revealed to me all the shortcomings, all the blemishes, and magified the majesty of His grace. I could never have saved myself, I could never have changed, I would forever be the awful person I was. But Jesus saved me as He went to the cross for my sins, and died in my place. I died with Him there, as the old man has been laid in the grave.
I seek to see others, not as they appear to me at first glance, but with dimension, as I try and see how they became the people that they are. One does not become obnoxious over night, it takes time. We are in a period of great stress when it is easy to look at those who appear in opposition as inherently evil. As those saved by the blood of the Lamb, we are called to remember that we too were sinners.
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
I Corinthians 6:9-11 NKJV
I remember that I was a great representative of many of the people in that list, but I was washed, made clean by the blood of Jesus. I look at others, not as evil, but as lost, knowing that they too can be found. God has transformed my heart from opposer, to lover of souls, as I seek to lead those to Jesus. I want nothing more than for them to know the love and transformation that I have experienced.
I have spent time watching multistreams of the current unrest in the streets, and I have had the opportunity to see the people, up close and personal. I have been able to hear some of the stories, and some of the legitimate feelings of those who are seeking change. They are not headlines, or stories trying to drumup fear or sympathy, but just people. Sadly, they are being used by elites with agendas they do not understand. Many will see no change, and end up worse off than they were before.
I have to pray. I pray for the people, I pray for our leaders, I pray for those who believe as I do, that the Holy Spirit intervene and save many from their sins. Judgement is coming soon to the world. It is my job as a christian, a born again believer in Jesus Christ, to tell of Jesus and what He has done for me. I must tell how He saved me from sin, how He is transforming my heart, and how He is coming again. I must look past the outward, and consider the inward.
Instead of knee jerk judgment, my knee jerk reaction needs to be to share Jesus.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
Romans 12:14-15 NKJV
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