Jehovah is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness.
Psalms 103:8 ASV
Many of us come off “holier than thou” but fall short by lightyears. We claim we want to be more like Jesus, but we must be speaking about the Spanish guy with the same name who lives down the street who owns a tech company. We admire him and hope to be as (or more) successful as he.
We can’t possibly want to be more like Jesus, the man that Christians call their savior— because we have the mindset that “It’s all about me, my feelings, my wants and needs, my desires, my body, my house, my car, my material possessions, my sexuality and sensuality, my…my…my…my” and Jesus was about the “we” and the “us”, and about serving and representing God, our heavenly Father-Mother. Jesus placed God first.
Now that’s not to say that your neighbor Jesus doesn’t walk daily like Jesus Christ. That was merely me injecting some humor into a serious conversation. I’m not a hell-and-damnation spewing Christian. I’m a I-just-cussed-an-hour-ago-and-will-cuss-countless-times-today Christian. So if you have a sense of humor, then you’re in the right space.
Jesus Christ is who we claim we want to be like, but our words and actions don’t align with that claim. I can admit it. Heck, I just did.
Jesus Christ could have gone off and started slapping, punching, and kicking his disciples whenever they got out of line, and disrespected him—and definitely, when they betrayed him. But he didn’t. I would have. But Jesus didn’t. He could have gone off and started tearing up things when the Jews tried to put reigns on him to control when he healed the sick, wounded, and diseased. He could have slapped or punched the first soldier who walked up to him to take him into custody for his crucifixion. But he didn’t. His actions were more memorable and impactful than had he lost his cool and acted like a fool.
Yes, he knew he was disrespected, betrayed, and treated worse than a stray, rabid dog; but instead of cursing those people, he lovingly gave his life to save theirs. He sacrificed, to prove in his resurrection God’s realness and power—and that there is no death—only a shedding of our limited thinking and a transition to another level of existence.
I don’t know about you, but at some point I would’ve hit someone for hitting or harming me. I definitely would’ve had some choice words for people, that wouldn’t be deemed appropropriate in any house of worship. Hence why I’m a work in progress, being molded daily by God.
Yes, Jesus was hurt. Wouldn’t you be hurt? Yes, he cried, and so would we. Here’s the difference between Jesus and me, between Jesus and many of you—revenge was not in his heart or on his mind.
So why should it be on ours?
Well, it’s simple, we have been raised in a culture of revenge, and tit-for-tat. What did we say as children that we still say now as adults? “You did it to me first”. How immature are we? Obviously we’re extremely immature, and lightyears behind Jesus.
If we’re to be more like Jesus then we need to stay prayed up, rested, and ready to spread God’s love and Word around the world to anyone willing to receive it, and pour love into people who claim they don’t want it. It’s not about Christian conversion—because the majority of us don’t know what it truly means to be a Christian, hence why we fail miserably. It’s about demonstrating, giving, and receiving love. God is love. Be love ambassadors. God is light. Reflect light.
We should remember who we are and to Whom we belong, and that He will settle our scores, and right the wrongs against us. We’re trying to win one measly fight and God is focused on a battle that started long before us, that will continue long after we transition from here. We need to stop being so juvenile and petty. We need to grow up and realize that we are gambling our souls for our flesh. We are trying to be judges of many when we can’t even get ourselves right. If that’s not a fool then what is??
But guess what? You don’t have to be hard core to have a huge impact. Jesus didn’t say that we’re to be religious extremists. We’re supposed to demonstrate love, kindness, forgiveness, and generosity in the extreme. The petty and ignorant people are reduced to extremism—which only magnifies the hypocrisy of their lives. They live nothing like Jesus, Moses, or any other revered servant of God—yet they quote scriptural text. Talk about speaking with forked tongues.
Consider these small gestures that can have a major ripple effect of positivity, even through people who find negativity more appealing:
- We should smile more even when someone’s frowning at us.
- We should laugh more because it soothes the soul.
- We should dance more because it’s a way of rejoicing and praising God through movement.
- We should take care of our health and our bodies because they are temporary gifts from God— and we should be reminded daily that if we aren’t taking care of ourselves then we can’t possibly do the work God has planned for us.
- We need to stop existing as victims and start living as ambassadors for Christ.
- We need to stop merely surviving and start thriving—because God made us to thrive as He thrives.
- We need to start forgiving more because we want forgiveness; and if we can’t give we can’t receive.
- We need to stop being so self-absorbed about what did, didn’t, has, hasn’t, is, or isn’t happening in our lives—and start living as though we’re glad to be alive, and grateful that God wakes us and protects us each day.
- We should be grateful each day, for our family and loved ones, and for the things that we take for granted— like the ability to blink our eyes. You’re blinking right now. Tell Him “thank You!”
I looked back to my past, reflecting upon my journey and the lessons that I keep repeating. It’s frustrating. These past few months I have learned a great deal about myself, how I deal with pain, rejection, and betrayal; and how hypocritical I can be in my judgment of others. I had to put myself in check HARD, and although it was and is a painful realization, it’s one that I’m glad I discovered now and not before taking my last human breath. Thanks to my long talks with God, and the loving help of my mother.
Years ago, I didn’t like what I saw in myself and I declared I would be quick to change for the better. Years later, I still have a long way to go, but I’ve made considerable strides, and I’m making more deliberate steps to see things through Jesus’ lens, and not just mine. If my burdens were placed before Jesus, he would probably say, “wanna switch?” and I would say, “heck no!” Then he would say, “Exactly. So stop your whining and complaining, take your light load and do what you’re supposed to do!” And I would comply.
So I challenge myself, I challenge you, let’s start anew, beginning today— right now, this very moment. Push out the negativity and let in God’s gentle yet powerful light. Stop the whining and complaining, and start putting in the focused and consistent work. Stop blaming and start moving forward. The only reason we can’t do something is because we won’t. We see and speak small, and then we’re shocked that we keep receiving small. Start speaking big and great, and put action behind those words—and watch the bigness and greatness that will manifedt.
I’m ready to put in the work, be patient for feedback and direction, and receive fully what God wants to provide, are you? Then let’s stop talking and let’s do this!
I love you all!
Father, I want to be more like You. I want to be more like Your son Jesus. I want to show compassion and grace always. I want to be slow to anger, and filled with love. I want to learn to forgive instantly, and not keep track of those who wronged me and their indiscretions. I want to be more patient and understanding. I want to stop being so quick to place blame, because unlike You, I am not blameless. I want to leave my judgments to Your discretion as that is not my role and purpose in life. I want to live my life as You see fit. In Your son Jesus’ name I humbly and faithfully pray. Amen.
Copyright 2011-2019. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved. All Prayers and Reflections are Copyright Protected by Natasha L. Foreman. breakingbreadwithnatasha.com