Thursday, November 13, 2014

If you'll try a little kindness

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”  (John 8, New Living Translation)

Why are folks so quick to condemn and judge? It seems that there is a mentality that if someone wrongs us, we must immediately think the worst about them; we must treat them like a heathen outcast! How dare they do that to us! Perhaps we even talk to someone about them because "hey, they need prayer, ya know!" Oh, no, we're not "gossiping" at all, we're simply "sharing what happened to us!"

Have you prayed about it as much as you've talked about it? I love that saying. If we prayed about it, we might find God telling us to read Romans 12:20:

Instead, "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads." (New Living Translation)

We as humans tend to act before we think. We get all out of joint over some perceived offense and think that we have a right to be mad at someone. Did you ever stop and think that person might not have meant to offend you? Now I'm not talking about some egregious thing that was certainly intentional, but I'm thinking of instances that maybe they forgot something that was important to you or forgot to call/text you. Is that really worth getting mad about?

Are you perfect? I'm sure not! I've promised things before and they've totally slipped my mind. It happens. I promised a friend my chili recipe for instance and I keep forgetting to write it down and bring it to her. What kind of person would I be if I got mad at someone for something unintentional when I'm not perfect? I think we can find instance of that in the Bible as well in Matthew 18:

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Yikes! That right there is some serious business, friends! If we don't forgive, God's not going to forgive us! We need to forgive the inexcusable in others because God has forgiven the inexcusable in us. That doesn't mean that we need to put ourselves in a situation to be hurt again by any means, but it means we give it over to God and let Him handle the situation.

Like Glen Campbell said in the song I added, let's try a little kindness to people.  Let's try to hold people to the standard we would want to be held to. We simply don't know what is going on in people's lives and we should treat them accordingly, giving them the benefit of the doubt. When someone does do the inexcusable to us, let's forgive them and let God handle it. We don't have to put ourselves back in the way of harm and hurt again, but can forgive and show them the love of Christ.

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