Sometimes I wonder how well others see Jesus in me. When I’m going about my day, can they tell I’ve been with Him? Do they see Him in my smile? Do they hear Him in my tone? Is His presence recognizable in the choices I make, in the comments I leave, in the relationships I cultivate?
As I look over my life, I recall many times when I’ve failed to pause and pray before pressing into hard circumstances. I cringe when I think about the letter I sent to a business owner whose cashier had spoken harshly to me.
Why did it make me feel better to put someone else in their place? Likely because I was far from the right place myself. Though my feelings may have been justified, my words failed to convey love, grace, or goodness. I had not been with Jesus, and it was evident.
The question I didn’t know to ask at the time is one I now ponder often.
How do we, as believers, communicate the love and goodness of God to those whose words or actions are anything but lovely or good?
The only acceptable answer I’ve found is to follow the example Christ set for us. He faced much adversity yet maintained an attitude of love toward His accusers.
When we face our accusers, what is our approach?
An Offering of Prayer
Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:28 (NIV)
When we commit to praying not only for our difficult situations but also for the people involved in those situations, it makes all the difference.
I’ve noticed the more I pray for those who’ve hurt me, the less resentment I feel toward them. As resentment loosens its grip, my heart begins to heal. This process enables me to see God’s heart more clearly, and when I focus on Him, my attitude toward my offenders begins to shift. I’m able to remember that they, too, are His creation – fully known and loved by Him.
An Offering of Love and Goodness
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Luke 6:27b (NIV)
When we remember we’re all created, known, and loved by the same God, we’re in a better position to demonstrate His love and goodness.
Though every situation is different, some tangible ways to do this might be to simply make eye contact and acknowledge their presence or send a note of encouragement if you know they’re going through a particularly difficult season. If contact is not feasible, keep praying. God knows their needs and will honor your sincere prayers.
An Offering of Mercy
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36 (NIV)
How I wish I had known this verse years ago when I encountered that cashier. Had younger me understood the importance of extending mercy, perhaps I could have made a difference in her day. Had I been in the habit of spending time with Jesus, my response might have even changed the trajectory of her life.
Friend, we’re all given opportunities to both receive and extend mercy. May we consider those experiences as we navigate the difficult situations that lie ahead, and may we be generous with our offerings of prayer, love, goodness, and mercy.
About the Author:
Sheila Daniel is a wife, a mom, and a Mim. She has been married to her husband, Brad, for thirty-four years, and has had the privilege of homeschooling all five of their children. Sheila began her public writing journey shortly after joining the “grandma” club six years ago, and recently released her debut novella, Escape and Rescue (https://bit.ly/escapeandrescuebook). Sheila would love to connect with you on her blog at https://www.faithfamilyfriendship.com. You can also find her on social media at https://www.facebook.com/sheiladanielblog and https://www.instagram.com/sheiladanielwrites/.
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