I've been going through some struggles lately. It's those kind that make me want to turn off the resounding verses of "don't repay evil for evil", or "love those that persecute you". The kind that make you want to be a Christian when it's convenient. When all is well, living the Christian life seems easy. But what Christ has asked of me these last few months went against every grain in my carnal body.
Interestingly enough, it is my children's devotions and lessons that have kept me on course. I mean, it's fitting for them as well but if I am expected to teach them how to give grace, I have to live it. And I do want them to learn it, not only for their sake by mine as well. I don't like refereeing disagreements over who looked at whom wrong, or whom has to be the prince in their play. Getting even just doesn't seem appropriate after that lesson is thrown in my day.
It is easier to see when it is someone else's fight and my emotions are not involved. Petty, childish, fights that cause way more damage than any fulfillment. They have a familiar feel to the fights that my three little girls bring to my world. Whenever I step back and really think, grace always is more attractive. I really don't care what it is- unless your fight has a purpose for the greater good and is more sacrificing than a way to feed your pride. And even then, grace should be involved. Love. Wanting to help the one that hurt you. Exhibiting the love of Christ himself. Tough stuff.
One lesson today was being connected to Jesus- the Vine. Then our fruit (of the spirit) will be healthy. Yes. It wasn't even try really really hard to show me the fruit of the spirit. Muster up the love you need to smile and keep your mouth shut. Write a cheery Facebook post so that everyone will think you have joy. Write a big check and tell God to chalk that one up to kindness. No. The fruit of the spirit is a by product of a relationship with Jesus. And the fruit of the spirit doesn't just get you by- it ensures victory. This victory is not over another person, but over the anger, the unrest, the manipulations, the pride, and the discouragement.
Being close to Jesus does not make dealing with hard situations non existent, but it gives resources to fight the real enemy- which is not a human. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you have the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self control. Whether you choose to go with your spirit or your flesh is still your choice to choose.
As for me, I know people are watching, wondering how I will respond. People that I really do love and I want them to know how much Jesus loves them. My anger will not show them that, and it may really confuse my kids.
Lesson learned. When my children are fighting, I know what they feel like. I know it is not "nothing" to them. The best way I can calm them down is to remind them how much they are loved- by myself and by God. Then they are in a position to give grace.
And for myself........exactly the same thing.