Monday, April 7, 2014

I Have Sinned


Photo by Kaarel Damian Tamre'   (Flickr)

I have sinned. Then why do I continually expect others to walk faultlessly around me?

I have sinned by hurting and offending others almost every day of my life. With my thoughts, my words, my attitudes and actions, I have sinned – often.

Therefore, who am I to take offense when someone lies to me, speaks ill of me, steals from me, disrespects me or rejects me? Or when they rudely disagree with me or cause me aggravation because they invaded my schedule or ignored my wishes? Not to mention, when they fail to appreciate me?

How can I dare to expect better treatment considering the fact that I do the very same things to others?

Matthew 7:12 (New American Standard Bible)
In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you.

I desire to be treated with fairness, truth, integrity, honor, acceptance and love. Therefore, is it too ridiculous that I would be required to offer the same to those around me?

What if the person who has hurt me, quickly regretted his or her actions? Have we not hurt someone, but due to our pride or shame, never found the courage to make it right? What if the person who has offended us is experiencing the same thing?

Would it be possible - could we consider - approaching offenders as good-willed people who regret their actions? How would that change our attitudes?

What if:
  • Instead of expecting to be treated perfectly by others, we strive to love and serve others as a true Christ follower, even when – rather, especially when – they aren’t “perfect” toward us?
  • Instead of returning a less than loving response, we consider how we would want to be treated? Perhaps offer a kind word or deed, a prayer or at least a smile?
  • We see those who hurt us as imperfect people, but good-willed? (Just as we desperately need others to see us?)

Prayer:
Father, You know well the number of times I’ve come to You needing mercy for the way I treat others. I pray that Your love for me (and Your love dwelling within me) will compel me to treat people the very same way You would want me to treat them! Help me to remember how much I need Your grace and to offer that same grace to those around me.

This week’s goal (and practical application):
This week, as I meditate on (with the intent to memorize) Matthew 7:12, I will ask God to help me to remember my faults and to teach me how to treat others with compassion, mercy and longsuffering.

For instance, when I catch myself becoming irritated when someone hurts or offends me, I will ask God to help me to remember my faults and to help me immediately pray for him or her. Furthermore, when applicable, I will seek a way to do something kind for that person, always keeping in mind how I would want (and need) to be treated.

In order to be ready, I will make a list ahead of time of Christlike responses I can use, such as: writing a note of apology admitting my part in the conflict, “feeding my enemy’” by baking (or buying!) a plate of brownies, or simply asking him or her how can I make things right between us.

Lastly, I will continually thank God for His longsuffering, grace, and mercy which He so graciously lavishes on me.

What do you think? Let’s have a real conversation about this topic!
  • How could these ideas change our relationships?
  • How could these thoughts change us?
  • How many times have you regretted your rude or thoughtless behavior? How would that memory – or the consequences of that moment – been altered had that person offered immediate forgiveness and grace?
Post your comments on one or more points mentioned using the comment link. Click on the Sharing Guidelines tab for instructions on how to post comments)

Note: Memorizing Scripture Blog (for anyone) and the Coffee with Sheryl blog (for ladies) both have the Current Goals tab located under the blogs' headers. "Current Goals" offers several practical links including topics such as: being a better spouse or parent, choosing better eating and exercising habits, overcoming addictions, dealing with depression, etc. The Immediate Goals link (for setting task-related goals) is only available at the Coffee with Sheryl Blog

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6 comments:

  1. Excellent insight Sheryl! Very thought provoking and practical.

    "How could these ideas change our relationships?"
    Well I think it would be a big step towards us actually taking action to make thinks right with the person as opposed to just feeling bad and continuing to stew over the matter and most likely focus on the other persons offense against us rather than our part in the dissension.

    "How could these thoughts change us?"
    We could focus on our own actions and what we need to do to try to make this right.

    "How many times have you regretted your rude or thoughtless behavior?"
    It depends on if I allow myself to actually look at where I may have erred or if I instead insist on focusing on how the other person is wrong.

    "How would that memory – or the consequences of that moment – been altered had that person offered immediate forgiveness and grace?"
    Hopefully I would have been mature enough to forgive someone who asked me for forgiveness. Sometimes, I think I judge people so harshly that I may not leave room for forgiveness. This is a scary realization.

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  2. Wow! Once again your willingness to be honest touches me, Barbara. I'm constantly amazed how well you nail my true feelings as well.
    Let's keep working on these things and stay in touch about how God is helping us, okay?
    God really wants us to excel in these areas. I know the joy we will experience will be worth it all!!
    Thanks again for stopping by, dear friend!

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  3. This post really hits close to home. Over the last few years, I have been learning more and more about grace and what it really means. I never understood it before, all I know was that we all lived by grace. But how???? As I have seen others be gracious to me by forgiving me immediately for stupid things I have done, it has become more clear that I am supposed to do the same for others. I got angry at someone at church a couple of years ago and in my anger, the Lord said to me, you have been forgiven of the same thing, don't you think they deserve the same grace you were given? I believe it was then that I really began to understand.

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    1. It can be humbling when we are faced with our true selves, isn't it? I'm thankful for God perseverance in changing us to be more like Him. I hope I never take His longsuffering ways for granted.

      Thank you for your honesty, Susan. I always love it when you stop by!

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  4. Thank you Sheryl for this very special devotional. It is just perfect to start my day. It is wonderful that God invites us to accept His grace every day of our lives. Bert

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    Replies
    1. It means a lot to me, Bert, that you took the time to read this and respond. Your comments encourages me so much. I love you, Hon.

      I also love God's grace. I depend on it immensely!!

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