There are days when people are jerks.
Being human, I want to be a jerk back.
But I’m usually not.
I usually vent to a close friend (or 9), and move on.
I tell myself to be “the better person”, turn the other cheek, and forgive (that pesky F word!).
When it’s the same person doing the same thing over and over and over and over again… I remember that Jesus said to forgive someone 7 x 70 times (That’s 490 times)…
When I start keeping track, God tells me that I should love those who hate me…
And then I remember that verse in 1 Corinthians that says love keeps no record of wrongs…
And I’m back where I started telling myself to be “the better person.”
Maybe some would call this a “Holier Than Thou” attitude… except I’m not trying to be better than the person who is harassing me… I’m trying to be better than myself. I want to be “the better person” that God pulled me out of my sin to become. I am not self-righteous, but I was given the righteousness of Christ to walk upright, no longer a slave to sin. And while I’m still getting my bearings from being chained down for so long, God has grace enough to catch me every time I stumble.
So every time that I get upset and want to give to someone what I think they “deserve” I remind myself that I deserve hell. If God hadn’t pulled me out of my old life, I would still be headed in that direction. It is with that heavy conviction that the desire to pray for those who persecute me begins to stir in my heart. It is with that knowledge that I can willingly forgive any trespass against me, because I know that the same was done for me when I didn’t deserve it.
Sometimes I wish God wouldn’t give me the things I ask for in the moments when I’m feeling pretty strong in my faith… because it’s in those moments when I ask Him to make me more like Him… but God doesn’t just snap His fingers for requests like that. He will give opportunities to grow into those characteristics. And even though I don’t enjoy the opportunities themselves, I’m thankful that He loves me enough to refine me a little more each day, so that I can be a little more like Him.
But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” — 1 Peter 1:15-16