I’ve lost count of the number of days we’ve been on lockdown. I doubt that it will be anywhere near normal for a long time yet. I’m trying not to complain, because there have been so many benefits to this time. But I can’t wait to see friends and family again. I miss church, mostly. There are some parts of church that I don’t miss – but I shall not air those here! I also miss going out and about and travelling. Holiday’s seem a distant memory and I long to go back to Mallorca – our favourite holiday destination. There are lots of things I am content with during lockdown, which I mentioned in a previous blog post.
It’s easy to hide from the relationships that I don’t miss. It offers a good excuse to not keep in contact. That’s not right though, is it?
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3: 12-17 NASB)
Ouch!! When I read this passage earlier it hit me where it hurts. I felt condemned. I felt ashamed. There’s one particular relationship where I struggle with patience, forgiveness, agape, compassion, kindness, humility, and gentleness. If I was judged on that one relationship I would definitely win the award for worst human being ever.
Why is it so hard to do with some people? Why do I act so differently towards one person and be kind and loving to nearly everyone else, nearly all of the time? Well, my lame excuse is that I’m only human! But, that doesn’t seem to cut it, does it?
I’m trying not to be too hard on myself over this. Rather, I’m asking God to help me with the hurt, help me forgive, help me to get to the root of the problem so that I can build on even this relationship. Will I then be perfect? NO!! I still have a lot of other things to work on. But, by God’s grace, I’ll give it all my best go.
“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.” (Philippians 2: 1-18 NASB)