I Can’t Seem to Catch a Break!

Do you ever feel that way? I have been lately. Only in a certain sense, though. I should explain.

Do I have any real worries in the grand scheme of things? No, I do not. As a Christian, I know how this ends, and what comes next. But, living here in the world can be tough. Do I have a roof over my head? Yes. Am I clothed? Yes. Am I freezing at night? No. Am I starving? No. The physical basics are well covered and I have no reason to complain.

What about the mental basics? Do I have them covered? Well, to be honest, I believe I have the spiritual basics well in hand. But the interactivity with others seems to fluctuate more often than I like.

I’m working on repentance and obedience. I’m assuming neither will ever be fully satisfied, so it looks like I’ll never be able to say I’m unemployed, for there will be continual work in my future. I seem to be having trouble with others, however. Whether that be a relative who is exhibiting routinely poor behavior or a brother or sister in Christ who seems to use excuses to avoid doing the better of two things, I allow it to get to me on a very personal level.

Yes, I know I’m wise to take all of it to Him – the good, the bad, the ugly. And, in my defense, I’m improving in that realm. But, I’ll admit to you freely, when these other things happen it hurts me. It is hard for me to imagine a future where my empathy is divorced from my Faith. In essence, I wish I could fully embrace the lovingkindness and understanding necessary to truly love others while being freed from the pain associated with disappointment in the very same people. Most of these wounds are near and dear to my heart too, as they involve people very close to me.

This may well qualify as Paul’s proverbial thorn in the side. But, it is a struggle nonetheless, and one I may simply have to embrace. Is my remedy as simple as prayer? In some cases, yes. But what about avoidance? Should I put distance between myself and the problems that keep popping up? In the past, I would have said yes to that question, but now I don’t. If we’re truly going to love one another, we’re obligated to forgive the ugly parts. We don’t get to claim folks when they’re on their best behavior and then head in the other direction when they’re not.

The reality is this: life is hard and the Lord gives us what we need and not always what we want. Through MY weakness, HIS strength is revealed. …And not only revealed to me but to others, ultimately. Despite the things I see in others I must love and forgive. Even when I recognize the very worst in myself, Jesus forgives me. There’s a distinct reason that Christ illuminates the sheer necessity to avoid the judgment of others in Matthew Chapter 7. He gives the Sermon on the Mount and includes the warning not to judge in terms of condemnation of the individual and judgment in terms of criticism, because we can’t survive that type of judgment ourselves. We’re really poor and playing God and warned against it.

I must step back from judgment in this way, embrace forgiveness, and help when I can to kick sin to the curb. I pray it to be as we envelop salt and light.

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