I’m upset. Things aren’t turning out the way I had hoped for. It’s thrown off my equilibrium. I was put on indefinite hold. As I’m writing this blog, I’m on the phone trying to reason with a computer. Can you relate? Of course, you can. This is the standard operating procedure in our world of “gatekeepers”. When I finally got a human on the line, I gave her a piece of my mind I can’t afford to lose. While I was put back on hold I began to reflect on some “bumper sticker” theology: “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” I think the message was probably designed to absolve a person of the guilt of being rude.
Two things that might be worth pondering today. First, will this issue be an issue 5 years from now, 5 days from now, or 5 minutes from now? In my case…probably not. Secondly, most of us think we’re the exception to the rule. The rule is something like “as a Christ-follower I should live in a way that people see our good works and glorify God because of it.” That rule applies…unless I’m hurt, in a hurry, or talking with a computer. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.
If you live long enough, you’re going to be hurt by somebody. In fact, many of you right now you’re carrying a significant wound. Someone abused you, took advantage of you, lied to you, cheated you. But think about this. How would you have felt if you were Jesus Christ the night before he was crucified? He knew that the next day He was going to die on a cross. Wouldn’t you have a little temptation with your own disciples to say, “Ok, guys? I’ve got a lot coming tomorrow. You take care of Me tonight.”
Here’s what really happened. In the moment of His greatest personal stress, Jesus chose to extend forgiveness. Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Do you notice how forgiveness, love, service, and civility go right out the window when you’re under personal stress?
Today, choose to serve. Choose to love. Choose to forgive.