Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Love To Hear The Story"1 (Lyrics)
John 14:26 – But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (NIV 2011)
Once upon a time, I lived under the illusion that we should treat people as they deserve. It was a simple law which I easily grasped: Be nice only to nice people. Thankfully, my illusion got shattered — all because of one dozen eggs.
That was many years ago. I had a friend who raised chickens and would give away the extra eggs. One day, when I was riding with her, she stopped at a neighbour's place to drop off a dozen eggs. This disturbed me intensely, because the neighbour was a disgraceful person and did not deserve those free eggs, in my view. Other people were far more deserving — and needier. My friend's kindness seemed inappropriate. But obviously, she never even entertained such reservations. Generosity was simply her nature — but not discernment, so it seemed.
Yet, I especially admired my friend for her insightfulness. That's why I found her gesture so unsettling. The episode just wouldn't leave my mind. Thankfully! The Spirit strategically used that to expose my faulty assumption. Afterwards, with newly opened eyes, I saw that I had secretly condemned my friend for her act of kindness; I had judged her neighbour as undeserving of love; I had judged myself as more deserving of those eggs; and I had opposed God's law, "Love your enemies". That's a lot of misjudgments tied up in one bundle!
Oh, I certainly knew Jesus's teaching about loving our enemies. But I couldn't connect it with life. That's because I was shaped by the world in which I was immersed. It is said that whatever we do or experience repetitively becomes right to our consciences. That's why an untuned piano or a wrong note sounds normal after a while. It's why a faulty assumption feels right, and why we'll defend it ferociously. Such embedded habits are resistant to change, even if we know otherwise. No wonder I disapproved of my friend's kind gesture. No wonder I needed the Spirit to reprogram my mind, to remind me anew of what Jesus taught.
I got thinking, if God can use a mere dozen eggs to overhaul my entire sense of justice, He can surely use anything to change you, me, or anyone. God is good at it! That shouldn't be surprising. After all, this was His covenant plan through the miracle of salvation: "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts." (Jeremiah 31:33 NIV 2011)
Prayer: O Lord, teach us Your way by Your guiding Spirit. Train us to think and act more and more in accordance with Your eternal truths. Amen.