This will be a short one!
I trust you are in a good place as you read this. I hope that this might make you smile and in the event that you are NOT in a good place, I pray that you are in a better place by the end of this post.
I have just finished reminding myself again to mind my business. Face my front. Stop thinking about what others are doing or failing to do and focus on me.
I have been repeating that sentence and for whatever reason, it seems like this is a hard lesson for me to learn – I am still learning. Every time I have had any expectations from people and they fail to meet those expectations, I begin to remind myself. The speech on rote commences. It always starts with, “they do not owe you a thing”, includes a high dosage of, “people will people” and always concludes with ” the only person you are responsible for is yourself. You do the good you know to do, you be the change you want to see and mind your business”. I have repeated this process so many times and yet, somehow, I am yet to properly learn the lesson.
It just happened again and I began my ‘encourage yourself’ rendition. It is not as if I do not want to learn this lesson, the unfairness sometimes just feels too unfair if that makes any sense. Why am I the one who is always having to be the example? Why am I the one that is always needed to forgive? I want to be petty too. I want to behave like a brat too. I want to be able to get away with a few things too. Yes, I want to tell some people off and not feel bad about it but as we know if you have been following me for a while, my life is not cut out like that and so I have to do the good I know to do even when it is hard. That is the only way to preserve my peace. I really enjoy my peace.
I will admit, I have grown as a person and I am better than I was with a long way to go – God is doing a real work in me (Thank You, Jesus). Yet, it does not make the journey any less painful. This year, I am learning to face my lane. Dey my dey. Mind my business. Face God (solely). All of these, amount to the same lesson. An incredibly hard lesson, one wherein I am fighting the opportunity to learn because it feels like people are fighting just as hard to hurt me. Yet, I still have to learn this lesson if I am to grow and become more like Christ Jesus.
What is this lesson? I imagine I hear you ask. Well, it is summarised below:
‘Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye’ – Matthew 7:5 NLT
I cannot keep getting upset about other people without first addressing myself in every situation and true to form, every time I have finally been willing to learn, I could not truly say that I could not have done better or behaved better and so I would begrudgingly repent then fully repent. I do not believe that any Christian ever gets to the point that the log is out of their eye enough for them to help anyone with their speck.
I believe that that is God’s job. We as humans can try to support but God is the only One able to really help us with the things that hinder us He is THE Surgeon (Optician – hehe). We are to keep working out our salvation. We are to keep running this race, all the while looking to God for help and grace to finish the race. We are not to concern ourselves with other people’s race. This does not mean we should not care for others or extend love – far from it. The lesson I am still struggling with is ensuring that before I start complaining about what anyone else has failed to do or has done, I need to check myself first. I need to ask if I have done all I needed to do. All I was supposed to do before talking about anyone else.
I also believe that this verse is tied to the one about forgiving seventy times seventy times. We have to trust God to remove all the muck, ask for help to forgive and do better and then do it all again until we get to the place where God wants us to be – the mirror image of Christ.
It is incredibly hard. Yes. It is. However, it is also a part and parcel of truly trying to be Christ-like. Imagine! After people have finished flogging you, spitting on you, mocking you, your first response is to pray for them? Like really pray for them – not this whole faux, ‘I’ll pray for you with the raised eyebrow and look of condescension type of prayer’. He genuinely cried out to His Father for the people He knew would eventually kill him – wow! Lol! (Forgive me, I had to laugh. I imagined what I would do because I had the power if I was Jesus – after even just the mocking – may God forgive me – clearly, I have a long way to go).
I hope I learn this lesson and I pray it becomes easier with time. I pray for patience and humility. I pray that when I am about to begin to start whining, I remember the log in my eye. I pray I remember that I am just as flawed as the person I am complaining about if not worse. I pray that I remember that at one point, I may have done much worse to someone else and also needed grace and forgiveness. This is not to in any way reduce the redemptive work of grace because I have been saved but even saved, I have to “buffet my body (flesh)”.
‘So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified’ – 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 NLT.
Gosh! It is a hard lesson BUT one that is worthwhile. I hope this is something I learn and perfect before the year runs out because I know I will be better for it.
Love and Blessings,