It was said simply, as if I was a child who needed to be reminded of this matter-of-fact-explanation:
This was after a showdown or more like a tirade that took place after an extremely stressful day. Words were said — can’t even say exchanged because the rant was one-sided — that left me speechless and shocked. I wasn’t at the receiving end, but the one who was behaved in a manner so commendable that I had to say this after it was all over:
“Just want you to know that you acted so graceful and dignified when ** was acting cranky. So cool… Proud of you.”
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Whenever I read these words, I am like, “Yes yes. I totally agree. Such great wisdom. That’s how we must ALL behave.” But when it comes to making those words come alive in my life, the result is never as enthusiastic as my verbal response.
With fibre of my being, I am compelled to hit back when hurt. I want an eye for an eye, even if the whole world ends up blind. And whenever I am unable to do that, I burn with this all-consuming anger that completely drains me. I know it’s wrong to be vengeful on all occasions, but when I am angry and resentful I just can’t help myself.
But here I was witnessing those words come alive in person who wasn’t even aware of them. And, I was humbled. To face such criticism and rise above it with such dignity takes courage. Even though it did hurt and humiliate, the person took the hard route and didn’t give in to anger.
Do you have turbulent days when the enemy is too big, and the answers too few? Every so often a storm will come, and I’ll look up into the blackening sky and say, “God, a little light, please?”
The light came for Jesus’ disciples. A figure came to them walking on the water. It wasn’t what they expected. Maybe they were listening for a divine proclamation to still the storm. One thing is for sure, they were not looking for Jesus to come walking on the water. “It’s a ghost,’ they said and cried out in fear.” And since Jesus came in a way they didn’t expect, they almost missed seeing the answer to their prayers. And unless we look and listen closely, we risk making the same mistake!
(Doubt Storms by Max Lucado)
We risk making the same mistake because even though God does shine his light when everything around us is very very dark, we refuse to see it. We refuse to see the love, rather we learn to dismiss it because in that moment of frustration it’s always about us.
I hope I learn to behave with same grace that the person showed when caught in a merciless tempest. I hope I don’t judge and most importantly, show grace, the ever humbling grace, that saved me in the first place.
“Today, let’s put on love.
Let’s love others through our words, deeds, actions.
Let’s give others hope through our love.
Yes, today, let’s put on love.”