Do you have people in your life that cause you to stumble and fall in your pursuit of God? I do. They are people that I love with all of my heart and I know that they love me dearly, but at the same time we seem to have the most trouble showing each other the love of Jesus. The patient, kind, gentle love. When I’m around them I have a hard time recognizing myself as the person I want to be, instead I feel defensive, frustrated, quick to anger.
I don’t think I’m saying anything revolutionary when I say that it often seems as if it’s the people we are most familiar with. I think that’s because they are people who have had the most opportunity to hurt us. Sometimes it’s the people that we know most intimately, and that know us, that can be the most difficult to love, and the most difficult to forgive.
I wonder how much of that is because of old habits? Established patterns of behavior that we are doomed to repeat because that’s what we know, because they are familiar and comfortable. I know that the people I struggle with have baggage. I even understand their baggage. But I can’t seem to put down my own baggage long enough to show them God’s love.
I spent a lot of time in prayer over the past weekend, asking for patience, forgiveness, strength. Sometimes I got it, sometimes I didn’t. But I always felt Jesus was with me, that he understood that I was trying and he was going to keep on helping me get back on track. And I think most importantly, staying in touch with God kept me from feeling guilty about failing. I knew I was failing. He knew I was failing, but together we were going to keep on trying.
Relationships are challenging because they aren’t always about what you are doing. I don’t know, maybe some relationships are beyond our ability to fix, maybe the only way they can be repaired is by turning them over to God. That’s what I’m doing with mine. I continue to pray that God creates in me a new heart, a new spirit. In many ways I’m glad that I stumbled this weekend. It keeps me from feeling too proud of myself and my faith journey. Jesus didn’t go around bragging or feeling proud that he was the son of God. He just tried to show everyone God’s love. I’m going to pray that God continues to work in my heart and in the hearts of my family so that we can create new relationships that not only more accurately reflect the love that we have for each other, but the amazing love that God has for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.