I have a confession to make… sometimes I don’t feel much like a Christian. I get angry, I get ugly, I get self-righteous, well… I just plain don’t act like a Christian. I want to be known by my fruit. Not the bad fruit, the good, plump, juicy fruit that everyone looks for at the grocery store. You’ve seen them, right? They search through, they pick up the fruit, they sniff the melons, they squeeze to check for ripeness.
But I admit that I don’t always portray the follower of Jesus that I would like to. If I’ve had a bad day with writing or something in my ministry, well… my husband will surely know about it! I have a hard time dealing with others who claim Christianity but then lie about or manipulate a situation to get what they want. When this happens, instead of praying for that person, I get miffed. If I feel overwhelmed with tasks I have to do, instead of asking my kids to help me, I will sometimes resort to copping an attitude and accusing them of never helping out when I need them too. I have gotten into shouting matches with my kids as well over messy rooms, dirty laundry, empty cups on the living room end tables. Why can’t I simply ask them to take care of these items instead of getting upset about it?
I wouldn’t talk to a friend in this manner, I wouldn’t speak to my kid’s friends in that tone, and certainly I would never show frustration like this to a church member. I was thinking of a scenario last night about this issue. If we are at that grocery store picking out that deliciously ripe fruit, then go about finding the rest of our items, the final step at said store is to head to the check out and pay for our goods, right?
Have you ever gotten to the check out and the person in front of you only had enough money for two items but they had four on the belt? It might only total a few bucks, so you say “I got it,” and hand the cashier the money. The person you’ve just helped thanks you profusely, possibly with tears forming in their eyes. You feel good about your helpful deed and go on about your own purchases.
Now be the person on the receiving end of the above blessing. You are, say, $3.78 short and the person behind you says “I got it.” You may feel a twinge of embarrassment but you probably wouldn’t shun their generosity. Okay, some people might simply put back a couple items so as not to have to accept the gift of a stranger but honestly when we do that, we are robbing that person of a blessing that God is trying to give them. But in either case, we are sure to feel a hot flash of color creeping up our necks.
The next scenario is you are behind the person who is short on cash again, but this time the person actually turns around and asks you for the needed money. You may hand it over but if you are anything like me, you may question how someone could be so bold as to ask a total stranger for money to cover their bill. I would gravitate to the outcome of them putting a couple things back before they actually asked someone behind them for the money. I personally have not experienced someone asking me for the money but I can imagine that’s how I’d feel.
One more scenario. You are the one who is short on cash once more. You don’t ask the person behind you for the money. No, you tell the cashier that the person behind you will pay the difference. Whaaaat? By now you are probably shaking your head and saying, “I would never do that!” How would you feel if someone expected you to pay for their items? I believe my response would go something like this… “that’s not my fault that you don’t have enough money.” Or “I don’t think so!” or maybe even “Excuse me? How rude!”
My point here is that this is what I do when I’ve had a bad day or I’m feeling frustrated with something that has nothing to do with my husband or kids. I expect them to pay the price for me being short on patience. I expect them to make up the difference. The funny thing is, I know it’s not right or okay to do, but that’s where Paul comes to mind. Romans 7:15-16 says “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.”
Oh friends, I know when I am doing these things that It’s not right but my fleshly mind gets the better of me. But my desire is to be like Jesus. I need to bathe myself in His word and ask for the Holy Spirit to guide my words because I do what I do not want to do. I am a little comforted by the fact that I’m not alone in these feelings. You aren’t either. Paul got it. He knew the thoughts of the carnal mind. But asking the Holy spirit to come in and live within my heart gives me the hope that I can live the way Jesus would have me too. I pray it gives you hope as well. You see, we will always have hope to live like Jesus if we always recognize our need for Jesus. It’s not the things we do wrong that make us wrong. It’s our denial that we need a savior to guide our paths. We all fall short of Gods’ glory (Romans 3:23) but we can all fall into His arms and let Him hold us up.