People aren’t lovely. Love them anyway. Ministry is really, really hard. Serve anyway.
There are so many, many hard things we’re called to do as we live this life for Christ.
Ask for forgiveness. Even when I am the one who has been wronged. Could you join me in listing a dozen things you’d rather do? Weed the flowerbed, clean the bathroom after a stomach virus, delouse a curly headed child, remove 50 year old wall paper with my bare hands and broke nails, roll my eyes and plan their demise. I could go on and on…
Extending forgiveness rather than getting my way doesn’t sound fun or easy. It feels like I’m swallowing a golf ball. It’s much easier to get uppity, hold a grudge, and imagine a good round of throat punching. Yeah, I know it’s stupid crazy hard. It’s completely contrary to what ‘feels right’ or ‘feels good’. How do you ask forgiveness from someone when you want to give them a ninja kick? Or at the very least a good tongue lashing?
I guess you have to remember Jesus. You do it because of Him. In His power. We remember He created them. They are worthy. Then when you have to give your full attention to that irritating person…it gets a little easier. Not because we try harder. But…because we surrender more. Christianity is about dying to ourselves, not trying. Even when your phone is buzzing in your hand…put it in your pocket and be present. Listen to them with your face. Look them in the eye even when the conversation is uncomfortable.
Can you imagine Jesus explaining living water while looking at an iPhone? Don’t you just know He looked right in their face? Because in a crowd of people, He “saw them and had compassion on them”.
When we are compassionate…when we offer forgiveness, we remember that we’ve been freely given such grace! When we realize it’s Satan’s scheme to keep us bitter and merciless.
Surrender to Jesus, keep our own forgiveness in the forefront of your mind and you’ll find yourself at a place of real compassion. You can rejoice and ache with others. Pray for them and then pray some more. Sing hymns over them as you would your own infant child. Serve them. That, in it’s very essence is ministry!
None of this is easy. It’s completely contrary to our wants.
Do it anyway.