Friday, February 23, 2018

Drop The Rock

I have been writing about dealing with difficult people as God has been working with grace on me about the issue. Recently a favorite pastor/writer wrote about dealing with difficult people reminds him about watching Canadian geese. I thought I had misread, but he was not talking so much about the fertilizer that they leave behind on your lawn as they feed on your grass. He was talking about how they care for one another. They guard their young a lot better than many people do. We have all seen photos of goslings under the wings of protective moms.  They stay mated for life; I don’t need to tell you about our divorce rates that are continuing to rise beyond 50%, even for so-called Christians. They primp and feed the young including the “black swans” in the group.

Well I was convicted a bit more as I read Romans 12:14-21 again.

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

One of my last posts was “Don’t Throw That Rock at me.” It spoke of my/your tendency to “dis” people for behavior of which we don’t approve and to find things that make others difficult to share with others. Forgiveness is a major theme of the New Testament. In the Old Testament law, throwing rocks at people for infractions, was common. Grace, through Christ is what we have been given for our sins. We in turn are asked to return the compassionate perspective to others. Like grace, this is a gift of God, not of ourselves, lest anyone should boast as Ephesians 4:8 reminds us. We can’t do it on our own; we need the Holy Spirit within us to do it. No excuses here, it is just true. However, we can start by at least dropping the rocks we are holding. We can stop hating and holding on to our grudges and unforgiveness. Why, because if we don’t the hate will kill us. Hate is on the “Anger Scale” a term I am just coining.  It looks like this:

----------x----------------x-----------------x-------------------x-----------------------x--------x
critical (displeasure) anger (incensed)      infuriated   bitter rage slander malice      

I don’t know exactly how to lay out the slope of anger at told in Ephesians 4:31. I just know that all of it is sinful behavior in thought, word and deed. It did try to make the line look like a barbed-wire fence. God is very clear on the need to forgive and be kind. That does not mean forget, it means drop the rock, which might be a good start for the “Kindness Scale.”

_______x____________x______________x______________x__________________x_________x_________        
drop rock       forgiven          be kind           compassionate           caring  sacrifice


Well, I don’t know how to do this either. I look at the process of grieving as a comparison. It might start with anger, but it moves to acceptance and then moving on. It is a process that is not lateral and moves back and forth. Similarly dropping our rock and moving from murder to sacrifice or being like Christ is perhaps a lifetime process and it is not possible for man without the Holy Spirit. Along the way there is the need for good friends, counselors and conviction of sin, followed by repentance. You see I believe that forgiveness and the continuums I have presented have to do with spiritual maturity and our sanctification or becoming holy and righteous through Jesus Christ and His redeeming life given to us. So realize that this is a long and hard process. But start by dropping the rock and taking up the Rock eternal, God within us.

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