Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7). Today Lorraine Hill talks about how difficult it can be when we have disagreements with others, especially other believers:
In this world, we will always meet people who will challenge, irritate, and frustrate us. Much of this frustration, however, could be avoided if we realized that our personality differences, preferences, and traditions often create unnecessary problems and issues. Satan then uses these differences to cause division and friction within the body of Christ (Reclaiming Your Joy, p. 103).
Tuesdays are the day I have scheduled to share with you from the book, Heartstrings: Finding a Song When You’ve Lost Your Joy , by Jill Briscoe. Though I always plan to concentrate on Heart Strings, each week I can’t seem to ignore the day’s assignment from Reclaiming Your Joy. Here are two books about rediscovering joy, virtually the same topic, but written from two totally different perspectives. Amazingly, each week I have seen the Tuesday topics (and it was Wednesday last week!) complement one another in some way. This week’s chapter from Heartstrings is called “The Grind Tree” and delves into the weariness we sometimes feel as we journey through life. In fact, it talks about how ministering to, and with, others can leave us burned out, fatigued, and spiritually spent. I think this can happen for many reasons, but it is especially likely when we find ourselves in disharmony with others, as Lorraine Hill points out.
The solution? In Reclaiming Your Joy we learn that we cannot find peace without accepting others, rather than judging them self-righteously. I have always run into the stumbling block of “Oh, that’s just how so-and-so is” – my take has always been that it is not fair to have lower standards for some because of ill behavior or personal shortcomings than you would have for others. This inequity has proved to be quite difficult for me to tolerate well. The two year old inside wants to scream, “It’s not fair!”. I know this is one of my shortcomings. 😉 However, mentally stomping my feet does not change facts or people – I have learned that, if that is how they are and they are not going to change, then I must change (my attitude). Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Col 3:12-14).
I know that God puts everyone in my path for a reason. Learning how to love that “difficult person” pleases the Lord and brings me along the road toward spiritual maturity. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Prov 27:17). In addition, the Lord wants to grow me into the kind of person who can minister to His beloved children regardless of any personal difficulty I may have with them. …Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us (2 Cor 5:18-20). Sometimes I am a long way from getting there, but I have realized that when I really can’t get past my own attitude about a person or situation, I need to look beyond them and see that nothing in that person or situation has overwhelmed the Lord’s will for me. Demonstrating His love for others and glorifying Him in all situations is His will for me; when I cannot accept that, my problem is not with that person or situation, my problem is with God and my own rebellious heart. “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘˜What are you doing?’ (Is 45:9). Above all, one of the best things for me to keep in mind is how much “difficulty” the Lord has tolerated from me! He is, as always, my example:
The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust. (Psalm 103:8-14).
JustaGirl…just like you!