Friday, February 21, 2014

Faithful Friday: Lifelong Student

"Do unto others..." is usually something we learn in kindergarten, yet it is a lesson most adults need reminders of even as we grow.  Or, at least I know God gently nudges me of this.  Sometimes often!

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that."  Matthew 5:43-47  (MSG)

It's easy to treat someone nice when they're being the same, but life gets a little more difficult when people are not so kind.

If someone does something that hurts you or those you love, it is human nature to react in a negative way, or at least think ill of the person.  But it is Godly nature to be forgiving, and not just that, but to also pray for them - and even harder still love them anyway

Because isn't that what He does for us all the time?  I'm not always lovable and yet He loves me anyway.  In spite of my imperfections, God sees the best in me.

But that doesn't mean He won't take opportunities to teach me, mold me, and shape me into a better version of myself.  Like sending me difficult individuals to love. 

"Sandpaper people" I've sometimes heard them called.  You know, the ones that just rub you the wrong way?  Or even worse, people that go beyond abrasive to downright hurtful.  Those especially sting when you know of nothing to justify the negative action. 

I've pondered back on that the past couple weeks and again as I was reading through my devotional journals this morning. 

Time and again I've written asking God to "give me His eyes, His heart" to see and love other people.  In my mind, I'm thinking of the ones I maybe don't notice who need an extra lift.  Because again, it is easy to love those who need loving.  But God has reminded me those aren't the only ones to love.

In fact, throughout my life He's sent me hefty doses of people that have taken a little extra effort.  People who only through His help and strength, have I been able to put my feelings aside and love them anyway. 

Sometimes I'd like to wave my hand and say, "Ok, God, enough lessons.  I'm good!!"  Yet I know that with each circumstance, no matter how hard, He has taught me something new.  With each occurrence, it took me less time to be convicted of harboring resentment. 

With every life training, I become a better disciple.  Because that is what being a student of God is about.  No matter how tough class is here, I'm listening to my Teacher and being obedient, eager for an "Ultimate Graduation" when I'm promoted from this life to the next!




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