|"Now we see but a poor reflection, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face." |
1 Corinthians 13:12
Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see your own true reflection? Or is the reflection you see a combination of opinions of how others view you? Like a fun house mirror is it a distortion of who you are? And who are you going to believe?
If you were to ask my children to tell you a common saying they grew up with both at home as well as at school, they would probably say in unison "Sharing is Caring." And with that saying in mind, I'd like to share a lesson I learned today.
Its so simple that I don't know why I am astonished by it. Why are the simplest of life's lessons so hard to learn? I guess that question goes right up there with, "Why isn't common sense so common anymore?"
Ready for it? Are you listening real close? Listen now, because its so simple a concept it could be missed:
I learned today, that the only power people have over you, is the power YOU allow them to have. Hurt people - hurt people. Sometimes those "hurt people" don't even realize they're hurt. These are *not* new concepts. Once you realize what perhaps you "always" knew - the situation or people who are trying to cause havoc in your life become deflated. Lions who roar at you without having any teeth.
Don't allow people to change the perception you have about yourself.
The Bible says in 2 Timothy Chapter 3: "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people."
If I was to be completely honest, I would admit that reading the above, I can even see some of my own faults within the context of those verses. Life is full of lessons.
How very opposite from the love scripture:
1 Corinthians 13: 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Maybe the question we should ask ourselves is how do we act? What category do we fit? Are we allowing our circumstances to make us "bitter" or "better?" And if it is the first - perhaps it is time for us to take a hard long look at ourselves and determine what we can do to change it to the later?
Which do YOU want to become? Because you do have a choice.
I also came to the simple realization that it is true - money cannot buy you happiness. It can buy you things, it can make life easier - but happiness is something that you cannot buy for a price. You cannot put a price on "a peace of mind."
When I was a camper, we use to have a song that had the words - "Don't put your muck in my back yard - my back yard's full." Is someone trying to "put their muck on you?" Or perhaps a better question would be - are YOU letting someone cover YOU with their muck?
You don't have to allow it. The choice is yours.... I chose "ME."
I had reached a point where I didn't even want to be around my own self! Something was wrong, but I didn't know what it was. Then I realized that I was allowing someone to hinder me. I was giving someone power over my life, over my emotions, over my day. When I finally realized that this was something I didn't have to tolerate, I stood up for myself and all of a sudden all that "muck" fell off my back and I realized that as a Christian, my steps are ordained FOR me. God has a plan for my life - I just need to be in tune with it. When God closes one door - He opens another. Maybe he allows certain circumstances in our lives to occur so that we can realize how dependent we are upon Him? My provision does not come from man - BUT from God. God can USE man to provide - but the provision comes from Him. When you have given your life to God - it is not your own anymore. It belongs to Him.
Maybe by putting difficult people in our lives - God is trying to teach us "compassion?" How sad is it when someone has nothing better to do in life but hurt, hinder and make someone else's life difficult? What does that say about the person who does that? What do they gain? How empty must their lives be to have nothing better to do than to hurt someone else? No matter their position, their money - whatever they have - they are no better than the character in the movie "Scrooge." But what they have meant for evil have God can use for good. No doors close without God allowing them to close.
"The steps of the righteous ARE ordained by God." (Even the steps of someone who has/is in a prodigal position making their way back to God). The journey of our lives are filled with people along the way who God uses to help us grow, and most of the time they don't even know that that is why they have been placed in our lives. How disappointing it would be for them to know that what they meant for harm has been used to help us spiritually grow?
Maybe that is why Jesus was able to pray for those who persecuted Him? Because He could see BEYOND what it was that they were doing to Him? He felt sorry for them. He knew the whole picture of what was going to happen. They only knew the "here and now." He knew that they were being used to complete His "higher" calling. They were actually used in a way they didn't even realize they would be. What they meant for evil - God was using for the good of mankind.
Times haven't changed... If we can look at those difficult people in our lives and think that no matter how uncomfortable the situation is - God is using it for OUR good. Then perhaps we can feel compassion and sorry for them? To pray for them. Maybe that is why God tells us to pray for those who persecute us? Maybe that is why Jesus said on the cross "Forgive them Father for they know NOT what they do." The world would want us to look at those who hurt us with disdain and hate and curse them and wish them harm. It would be so easy to fall into that line of thought... But then they would win, wouldn't they? And what honor would God get? Especially when Jesus was sent to be our example?
I have chosen to do my best (with God's help) to RISE ABOVE IT. And in doing so - I have found peace. And I laugh in delight at the pleasure I have found in finding the unexpected gift of peace in a situation so unfair and difficult. Because honestly - the only one who can give such a beautiful gift - is God, and the things you cannot put a price on - self-respect, peace of mind and truth - do NOT come from man, but from God.... I believe they are riches that are far above money and position - which are temporary and can fade away.
I would not trade the peace of God for anything because along with it comes joy and love and those are the things that truly make life worth living.