So often we fail to give others the same grace we expect from them. We walk into a room of strangers, a new church or group and we feel hurt because no one approaches us. Yet, when we are in our own familiar surroundings, we are so caught up in fellowshipping with our friends, we forget what it is like to be a new minnow in a school of fish who have been swimming together for a long time.
We feel like we don’t know anyone at our church. And yet, we don’t attend home groups and newcomers meetings advertised in the bulletin and weekly announcements from the pulpit.
A friend fails to smile our way across the sanctuary, and we think they are ignoring us. Perhaps, they are having a bad day and are barely keeping it all together. Maybe, they need new glasses or forgot to wear their contacts that day!
We share a deep need with someone, and they appear to brush it off. Is it possible that we used such vague terminology and minimised our pain so much that they missed the minuscule clues we expected them to decipher?
A pastor doesn’t spend as much time with us as he did when he counselled us through a personal crisis. Could it be that the pastor sees that we have matured to the point that we should be doing everyday life with other believers, encouraging each other as we continue to deepen our walk with the Lord?
Perhaps the pastor is overwhelmed with multiple crises in both the church and in his family. These situations are ones that 99.9% of the church will never hear about due to confidentiality issues. However, they need immediate focus.
And yet, even as we inwardly gripe about the lack of concern we feel from others, we complain to God that we are judged and misunderstood by those same others when we fail to meet their expectations. Don’t they know how frazzled we are? Don’t they know what we are going through? And so, we distance ourselves, feel rejected, and the cycle of disconnect continues.
How to break that cycle?
1, Find your identity and security in who God says you are. Look to Him for reassurance, comfort, and acceptance. Trust Him that He sees you and is never distant from you. You can approach Him at any time. He knows us so well that at the first signs of inner conflict, our Heavenly Father approaches us with a gentle word, “Draw near, child, we need some time together.” Human frailties do not bind him. He is never tired, and He is never distracted.
2. Meditate on the following Bible Verses. Make them your own. Keep them on your fridge and your smartphone. Pull them out when you are tempted to assume the worst in others. Be quick to turn away from judgmental, critical and assumptive attitudes toward others. On the rare occasion that your assumptions might prove true, forgive.
Model these verses through your speech and your actions. Do so only to love, and never to prove a point.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV) – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV) – “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Colossians 3:12-15 (NKJV) – “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Hebrews 13:1-2 (NKJV) – “Let brotherly love continue. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
1 John 3:18 (NKJV) – “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
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Until Next Week,
©2020 Katherine Walden