Let me tell you how much I love feeling convicted. I love being proved wrong, and humbled to embarrassment and having to admit I’m wrong. Yeah, that doesn’t sound very believable, but it does happen so often you would think I would get used to this feeling, or at least welcome it. My most recent conviction wasn’t something easy to swallow or quick to change. I have this problem of getting so frustrated with people and wanting to control every situation. Now, I know you’re probably thinking; “Everyone has that problem, it’s normal,” but why is it normal?
Paul states in Ephesians 4:2-3, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves together with peace.” It looks so easy, but when it’s time to carry out that plan, its like teaching a cat to walk with a leash. You have to drag them around everywhere anyways. When I reread that verse, I notice how he said, “make every effort”. Did I think it would be easy, if I literally had to draw every effort in my body, all the strength I have, just to make peace with someone? Well, when I actually have to forgive someone, it feels like I have no strength at all. I felt it the most when I had to forgive someone close to me for not making the effort to invest in our relationship. Everyday I set myself up to be ready to be cast aside. But that’s all I was doing. I was setting myself up, expecting to be hurt and not thinking about anybody else’s circumstance but my own. Pride overcame me and selfishness became a root in my heart. That is where Jesus began his work in me.
Paul instructs us once again in Colossians 3:13 to “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” I began to learn that we are not slaves to our emotions and attitudes. The Message version adds, “be alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” Why do you think we need to be quick at mending these fences? Because the longer we let our offense fester, the deeper the root of bitterness grows in our hearts. Hebrews 12:15 warns, “…Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Being offended is like the world’s new national anthem. We all get hurt so easily and we don’t know how to handle it. Even though the Word clearly states how, but since it’s so hard to do, we give up and let the root grow. We hold on to it, and let our angry passion control our actions, when we could be using that energy and passion to try to forgive. The moment I started praying for God to create a pure heart within me and make the other person see their actions, He revealed to me exactly how impure my heart was and how it was really my actions that were the problem. I started paying attention to the words I was speaking and seeing what truly was in my heart. How quick I was to just be hurt and play the victim. I never stopped to put myself in their shoes or think about how they must feel. I prayed, I fasted and I gave it to God, countless times. Some days I felt no change at all. I was so impatient because I wanted the season to be over quickly. But when I truly welcomed this season and this trial as God molding me and making my heart pure, something just clicked. I felt this overwhelming peace, and in just one night I didn’t feel that pain from that relationship anymore. My eyes were opened to the damage I was causing to my heart, my walk with God and the relationship I was picking apart.
We need strength to make peace, we need to forgive so we don’t become bitter, but one of the most important things we need to have is patient endurance through the trial as God teaches us what we are to learn from it. Colossians 1:11 says, “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.” God gave us patience as one of the fruits of the Spirit, do you think that God would give that to you, but not give you the strength to tap into it? Don’t let pride get the best of you. Be patient through your trial. Everything might seem overwhelming but God is listening to your prayers, He sees you and He is patient with you. He made allowance for our faults, by sending Jesus to die for our sins. So why can’t we have grace for the people that offend, frustrate, and sin against us? Jesus said in Luke 6:32-33, “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.”
Sacrifice your pride by accepting that you will not always be treated how you deserve, and you may be the one that needs to be forgiven. In this world we have to use every effort, all the strength that we have, to not only be patient with people, but to recognize that people are patient with us too. Check your heart. Are you as selfless with people as you think?