This is quite a difficult post to write; I really have no idea where to start. I like to draw people in with something that captures their attention on the outset, but I’ve come up short. It is my heart to write about some of the things God teaches me and it is my hope to encourage other souls who read it.
Here is usually how it goes. First, I struggle; then comes discouragement; soon after I wrestle; followed by anger. I get so low until I can’t possibly pick myself up, and then comes God. Truly He is there the whole time but I would rather push Him away. Now He raises me up and speaks words of grace over me. After I am covered in His grace He speaks words of truth into my soul and my parched soul becomes refreshed.
Glorious God has made himself known to me, through His Spirit, in the midst of my storm. I went from being in the lowest valley to highest mountain peak. Joy is now my middle name.
And then I slowly begin to sink back down. Maybe with some new difficulty that blindsides me, or maybe just the same thing I initially struggled with because I’m just me and not the saint I think I am. I have never made a mistake once and learned from it. I unfortunately seem to make the same mistake over and over.
I have not arrived and every blog post is not written after a victory over sin. It is only just an exhortation and a cheering on. Forgive me for this long introduction. Follow me now to the theme of this post.
I must dispel any kind thoughts of me. Having lived in Indonesia now for 6 months, God is teaching me not to have a critical spirit. I have eagle-eyes in finding faults in others but have blind eyes in finding the blunder in myself. Don’t be surprised, for there are plenty of opportunities here to nurture a spirit of condemnation. At the root of it most times is pride, sometimes selfishness, other times something else just as ugly.
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Matt 7:3
Here lies the core of my wrestling: how the heck do I get this giant 2×4 out of my face? I’ve determined that the answer is quite simple, even elementary.
Over and over throughout the gospels Jesus always had compassion. Sometimes He was direct, especially with the Pharisees, but never once did He criticize his disciples, not even Judas. To the woman caught in the middle of a repulsive sin He said, “Neither do I condemn you”. To the crowds who relentlessly followed Him for 3 days He was moved to compassion to feed them lest they faint on their way home. To the same crowds He cried out, “Father forgive them” when they willingly crucified Him.
Jesus is the model and grace is His method. We must earnestly pray that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead would dislodge the massive plank of wood from our eye and replace it with grace. Then can compassion abound and grace be demonstrated to each other.