Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Who Made The Earth"1 (Lyrics)
I am going through some health struggles, which can affect me both emotionally and spiritually. It often means that I don't deal with other people very well, especially if I feel ignored, misunderstood, mistreated, rejected, or alone. When others don't meet my expectations and I feel let down, I can become discouraged, frustrated, and angry. Worse, those feelings may not even be accurate, because I don't necessarily know or correctly interpret what is going on with the other person. I also need to recognize that others may not be able to identify with my situation.
Focusing on the positives and letting go of the negatives is an uphill battle. Sometimes, I lash out and hurt back, doing the very thing that hurt me. I may not be able do anything about apparent injustices, but my overreacting definitely does not help.
While I strive to live my life the way that Jesus would want me to, so often, I don't know what to do. I fall far short of my own expectations and what I think others, including God, expect of me. But there's hope:
John 1:1,14a – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (NIV)
Jesus was human, just like us! He faced all the same temptations that we do. He understands what we are feeling. He was ignored, judged, misunderstood, rejected, betrayed, and abandoned, even by His family and closest friends. But there was a difference: Unlike us, Jesus had a perfect relationship with His Father, our God! He knew what to do when He was tempted to retaliate, to lash out. When Jesus became angry, His was a righteous, unselfish anger, focused on sinful behaviour and true injustice against God. But when it was directed at Him, He knew how to turn the other cheek:
Luke 23:34a – Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (NIV)
Even when I do know what I ought to do, I often don't want to. I would much rather dwell on the hurts and injustices. I don't want to let go and forgive. But Jesus forgives me and helps me to do the same! He understands that I don't always recognize what I have done when I ignore His promptings and sinfully disobey. While we can't make our relationship with God right, Jesus could! He could have faltered and sinned, but He didn't. He was without sin!
That doesn't mean that He didn't struggle to do the right thing, to take all our sins upon Himself, to die for us. He asked His Father if the cup might pass Him by, but He knew that that was not an option. He willingly gave up His life to make us right with God. And because of that, while we continue to struggle and falter and sin, we can be forgiven and be right with God! Let us give God eternal thanks for such a precious gift!
2 Corinthians 5:21 – God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (NIV)
Prayer: O Lord, our heavenly Father, thank You! We are so grateful for what Jesus did for us! No matter how unsure we are or how much we falter, help us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We don't always know how our seemingly innocent words and deeds affect others, but help us to accept one another as fallible, for all of us need forgiveness, and we need to forgive just as Jesus forgave us. Above all, we want to glorify You in all things and at all times! In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.