Tuesday, July 5th. I Could Be a Pretty Good Christian if it Weren’t for Other People.
Titus 3:1-3 Remind them to… speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient… passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. Titus 3:1-3
I assume that you can identify with this at least a little. I start out my day with the best of intentions. I read, I pray, and I head out for the day with the plan to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. Then I meet those people and all my good intentions evaporate in a heartbeat. I can go from courtesy and gentleness to malice, envy, and foolishness with a word.
Jesus first command was to Love the Lord your God, but in the next breath, He issued the second greatest commandment, You shall love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). Our first priority is to have a vital, loving relationship with God, but our second is to live in right relationship with those around us. We were made to live in communion with others in a relationship that is radically affected by our faith.
When I am frustrated, hurt, or injured by an interaction with another, it is usually because I am focused on self. It is the turn of my mind to me that causes my misery. I can blame another for being frustrating, but if my eyes were on God, I would remain gentle, courteous and humble.
Again, I assume you are at least a little like me, and find that this is no more true than at home. I find it easiest to act the worst with the people I love the most. When I am frustrated, angry and prideful, I need to stop and realize my gaze has turned from God to self. I need to choose continuously to take my gaze off my own ego and turn it to God. Only then, do I act rightly with those around me.
Today, I will continue the discipline of focusing on God, not self.