STILL IN THE PROCESS
Just a few moments ago, I was rude to a telemarketer. It seems that every time I answer the phone lately someone wants me to donate to a worthy cause, upgrade a service, or buy a product. Today I couldn't take anymore. First I said, "Not interested." Then he argued with me that I didn't even hear what he had to offer. Then I said, "You're wasting your time." He continued his pitch. Then I hung up on him.
If I'm happy with the service I have, why do I need to hear about the upgrade he has to offer? It's difficult to be nice to someone who will not take "No" for an answer. So why do I feel like I didn't handle it well? You know sometimes I just get tired of trying to respond to everyone in a kind manner. Yes even Christians need to blow off steam at times. We're far from perfect.
I'm told that I'm supposed to be joyful no matter my circumstances. I'm supposed to be patient, kind, loving, forgiving, and willing to sacrifice myself for the greater good. That's not easy. People and circumstances are constantly challenging my patience , my ability to forgive, and especially my all-encompassing joy. So I slip up at times. I'm not as nice as I should be. And since I didn't sleep at all last night, I probably have a shorter fuse than usual.
But you know what I like about following Jesus. He always forgives me. He's always willing to stand by me while I learn yet another lesson about life and dealing with the stress of this crazy world we live in. Christians aren't perfect, but one difference between them and nonbelievers is they know when they've been rude. God's spirit within them causes them to feel badly after speaking to someone rudely. If I could, I would apologize to that guy that was trying to sell me something I didn't need.
God knows I'm not perfect and he accepts me as I am. Every time I mess up, He welcomes me with open arms, forgives me and encourages me to keep following in His footsteps. He stresses how far I've come not how far I have to go. My favorite song right now goes something like this:
There's no such thing as perfect people
There's no such thing as a perfect life
So come as you are
broken and scarred
lift up your heart
and be amazed and be changed
by a perfect God
Sometimes I don't feel joyful, sometimes I complain too much, sometimes I get angry and I don't always focus on the good in people like the bible says we should. Following the teachings of Jesus is challenging because we live in a fallen world. Nonbelievers just love to see a Christian mess up so they can say, "See, you're no better than I am!"
They just don't get it. We already know that we're not better than anyone. We already know that we're far from perfect. That's the reason we seek God. We want to be amazed. We want to be changed by a perfect God. And that takes time and prayer. It's a process that will have its ups and downs. Sometimes we'll have victory and other times we will fail. We'll get frustrated and we might say or do things that don't reflect God's best response.
But God knows we're not perfect. That's not what He expects. He only expects us to keep trying by praying for help and growing in our knowledge of His ways.