I wish I could email you, hit send, and get a reply in black and white letters that I could understand, make sense of, and put my feet to. I just received an email from a woman I hurt. I don’t know her and had no intention on hurting her. She was offended with an email reply from me that was too short, or too business like. The email in question was a year ago, and she has struggled with “feelings” towards me ever since. I don’t want to hurt people, but, I did. I feel terrible. But, Lord, I am one person. A person, in ministry, that is often misunderstood. I can not do everything. But, I need to do the THING that you have called me to. Forgive me for hurting someone you love, even if it was not intentional. Teach me your ways and help me Lord to not just look after myself or my inner circle, but to care deeply and sincerely for others.
I hope you got this email, because I need a reply and a confirmation of your path for me.
struggling to be,
Well, girls…God wrote back, in the form of the continuing journey through the letter of Philippians. I love how God’s word meets us where we are! After telling them that they shine like stars in the universe as they hold our the word of life…Paul goes on to talk about taking a GENUINE interest in others welfare. Seriously good timing for me!
Philippians 2: 19-21
” I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks after his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”
“ Others… This was the overpowering, dominating note in the life of our Lord on earth, and because of this He died. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for…others! He lived for others; He died for others. Selfishness He knew not. Unselfish devotion for the good of others summed up His whole life, and all in subjection to the Father’s will. For God, the Father Himself, lives, reverently be it said, for others. He finds His delight, His joy, in lavishing blessing on others.”
I thank God that this woman had the courage to send me the email she did. She probably didn’t want to, but after having to see me speak at church, and feeling conflicted, she knew she had to send it. I am glad. Why?
Because I am reminded that people are important. People are who Jesus came and died for. And, though I can not meet all the needs of all the people, I must be careful to CARE. I was also delighted, in reflecting back, that I did not feel defensive about her email, but I truly felt grieved. I realized that is the growth of GRACE at work in my heart. For this change and this grace I am continually thankful.
And, finally, this dear woman accepted my email apology and she apologized too, for not considering where I might have been, or what I might have been going through at the time of the email. I wanted to hug her through the cyber space.
Forgiveness, grace, bearing one another’s burdens, not just looking out for ourselves, listening, practicing the presence of people, and loving people God has made…THIS is one of the foundational messages of the gospel.
Jesus came to love. We can live in that love.
It’s not natural to love when someone offends us, is it? It is not natural to lay our defenses aside when we feel accused, is it? It is not natural for us to lay low and let God minister His truth to us when we are hurting or misunderstood, is it? Why? Because we are creatures of habit that look after number #1. Defending ourselves, proving ourselves, protecting ourselves. What if…we laid that all aside? ( WILD!!!)
None of these things may be natural, but I challenge you to remember that all things are working in your life to shape you, change you and conform you into the image of Jesus. Let them take shape…listen…lay low…let God speak to you.
It’s Wednesday, another time to bless another, forgive and offense, and shine like the light you are in Christ.
with sincere care over your growth in Christ,