30 Days of Thankfulness- Day 7

8 Nov

Day 7- Today I am thankful for … God’s sense of humor… and Amazing Grace.

I hopped on my treadmill this evening and did what I always do… Crank up the speed, turned on a message from my favorite, Matt Chandler, and immediately started laughing. The title of the message was “Revenge and Love,” and God knew why I was laughing.

Just this morning I stood in my kitchen pouring my heart out to my sister about a very hard situation I am going through with a person who is causing pain to two very precious people in my life. I was brutally honest with her about how I wanted to go “Dexter style” on this human being. Now, if you don’t know who Dexter is… that is probably a good thing, and please don’t google the show, because you might look at me in a different light after you know…But hear me out. I simply want revenge. I want this person to hurt. I want them to lay in bed at night and ponder the hurtful things they are doing and WHO they are doing them to. I want God to just take them and shake them silly… I want them to suffer. Have you ever been there? Have you ever stood in your kitchen and just cried out for revenge? If you said “No” then you are SO lying 😉

A few days ago, I shared with you why I love my sister and the amazing influence she has had on my life. Well, this morning was no exception. After she “talked me off the ledge” she began to share with me her view on the situation and that my bitterness is only hurting everyone involved, even the ones that I am trying to protect. She reminded me that I am called to be different and that it was not that long ago, when I was the one, needing grace NOT revenge. With each word, my heart began to soften and I started to feel convicted. She was right. If not for God’s amazing grace and second chances, I would NOT be where I am. I am called to love my enemies. Even if the feelings are not there… I have to start somewhere.

All afternoon I ponder her words. I shared my feelings with the Lord and asked that He would soften my heart and let me see this person the way he does. I asked Him to help me and show me what I can do differently. It did not take Him long to answer… “Revenge and Love” came on and that is why I said I am thankful for God’s sense of humor! Here is what Matt had to say (or God through Matt… to my ears)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you maybe sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

“What Jesus has just demanded of his people (remember, this is a superseding righteousness that Christ is creating in our hearts) is that we would love our enemies and pray for them. He even says there is a reward for loving your enemies and praying for your enemies that is not present when you love those who love you. If you love somebody who loves you, there is reciprocity there. Are you tracking me? There is no reward. They love you; you love them. How easy is that? But if you love those who hate you, if you love your enemies, then the reward that is… don’t lose me here… possible is that you might bring peace to where there is strife and you might see an enemy come under the same saving grace you were able to come under.”

Yes, I laughed out loud. Then as he went on, I got mad, I growled and almost spit… then I cried. I got it. I knew that God was showing me something pretty big. I have been so focused on ME, and what I want done to this person, that I have conveniently forgotten what was DONE for ME. I was given grace and forgiveness by a God to whom I was once an enemy. Then I stopped and thought … How can I love this enemy of mine in a way that is good for them, helpful for them, and in the end gives the best opportunity for them to sense, see, and enjoy the grace that has been so richly lavished upon me?

Although I don’t have all the answers to those questions I DO know that the grace I have been given, I did not deserve. And that alone is humbling and makes me stop and say, “Okay God, your grace is AMAZING, I am not, and thanks for having a sense of humor. Appreciate that.”

I have changed my prayer for this person moving forward, but I have asked that God will not just change them, but change ME. That he will transform this revengeful heart to one that loves and see’s the good, just like he did with me.

Many Blessings ~ Summer

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