Do you ever get just totally disgusted with yourself? With your actions? With your speech? AARGH!
I really hate to admit it, but instead of giving people mercy and grace when I meet them, a lot of the time I find the wrong thoughts swirling around in my head. But then, of course, the gentle nudges of the Holy Spirit show me that I often really don’t know what I’m talking about, so I end up once again confessing the same sins and asking for forgiveness.
One circumstance I was reminded of was years ago when we were holding a Bible study in our home. This study was for anyone who was interested, i.e. married, single, man, woman, Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, even unbelievers. We were just interested in getting people engrossed in studying the greatest of manuals, the Word of God.
One evening a dear friend of mine brought with her a neighbor that she had befriended. She had told her about the Bible study, and her new friend was excited.
So here they arrive, and of course I’m doing my best to be gracious and welcoming. But then as the evening wore on this gal started getting on my nerves. She seemed to know everything about everything, and I found myself wishing she would just be quiet!
Then came the tap, tap, tap of the Holy Spirit knocking on my heart. I was judging when I had no right to at all. Who knows, perhaps the gal was just nervous! I know often when I’m feeling uncomfortable I start chattering away aimlessly. OUCH!
The next morning I was still beating myself up. Forgive me, Lord! Did I not ask You to bring who YOU wanted to our study? Discouragement started setting in at the evil that still managed to enter my thoughts far too often – I should just hide myself under a rock!!!
But you know what? My discouragement and discontentment with myself was because I was refusing to trust that once I had confessed my sin of judging, God forgave me – I was now clean (1 John 1:9)! He wasn’t making me feel bad, I was doing that all by myself by allowing the enemy to start beating me up instead of resisting him and trusting in God’s love for me (1 Peter 5:7-9).
But of course God knew my struggles as nothing is hidden from Him (Hebrews 4:13), and so He blessed me later that morning when I was getting Jeffrey on his school bus. I had been praying and trying to befriend the divorced gal who drove the bus, and during the past couple of months she had shared with me certain heartaches of hers – and even occasionally had asked me to pray about certain things. I did not believe she had faith in Jesus, and I had been praying for an opportunity to invite her to our home study.
It was early December, and that particular morning she told me that she was driving a tour bus over to a fun German village in central Washington on that particular weekend. I asked her, Gee, do you ever take time off?
She unloaded on me that she had been trying to keep her Sundays clear, but lately she’d to take care of her grandkids. Plus she had just broken up with her boyfriend, so she really hated to be all alone. She said something to the effect, Here I am a 50 year-old woman still trying to grow up…”
I could so hear the loneliness in her. I asked her if she was going to have any family around at Christmas, and then she told me her daughter and her husband were also splitting up, so it wasn’t going to be a very pleasant year.
My heart ached for her, and I was so thankful that the Lord had made her so comfortable with me that she felt she could share a bit of her life.
As we continued to talk together, I found out that she actually had moved quite close to where we lived, and that gave me a great opportunity to invite her to our study. She looked at me, and said gently, I might do that.
As she drove away I was filled with joy that the Lord had opened a door for me to invite her – to show her just a bit of how much God loves all of us. Plus now I knew more of how to pray for her!
The moral of this story? Don’t forget how much God loves you! He’s got people in your life that just need someone to come alongside them and tell them that you care. And don’t worry – God knows you’re not perfect, but still desires to use you anyway.