I was sitting in church today staring at her back, and facing my sin. The human heart is deceitful if nothing else, but I couldn't hide from myself when the pastor asked if we were loving the world out there.
Am I loving the world out there?
How can I be like Jesus to a world in need, when I can hardly stand to be in the same room with my brothers and sisters in Christ? They have hurt me... hurt my kids, my husband, my friends. They have slandered the Name of Jesus, and I sit in church wagging my index finger all over the room. You. You. You...
Because eventually the index finger finds itself tapping my heart. You. You, Bernadette.
I go to bargaining with God about how I'm in the right, and they need to apologize, and they are the ones that need to repent. Gross, right?
The God of the universe is endlessly patient with His prideful daughters, and it takes the whole church service for me to come around. He has given me one opportunity after another this past week to humble myself and apologize. Even when I still think I'm right. Even when I've been hurt. Even when to leave with out saying it would mean nothing to the other person. Even when I'll never see the person He prompts me to apologize to again. Ever in my life. What is the big deal? Really?
In my head...I hear Him ask two simple questions. "Will you ever be sorry for saying you're sorry? Will you ever be sorry for NOT saying you're sorry?" I imagine myself standing in His presence.
He begins to shed light on my dark heart, and I bow my head as He hangs my life on the line...
Fluttering flags of righteous red rags.
"OH, God, I'm sorry." Sorry for my pride and for my part. Hating your people in my heart and being unmoved by the possibility that they are simply...hurting.
I stare at her back and start praying that God will provide an opportunity after the service. At first I hope maybe I can just call so I won't have to really face her.
But as I stand there praying, my desire to make things right increases, and I lunge for her when we are dismissed.
I take her hands in mine, and look her full in the face. I want her to see the windows to my soul so she will know that I am broken and sincere. Sorry for being mean and hateful. Unforgiving, unkind. Full of religion, bitterness and...pride. I am full of pride, and I'm so sorry.
This transaction changes everything, and all is well and full and restored and right. She hugs me and cries. She says it so quiet..."Thank you.". My husband gently squeezes my thigh on the ride home and tells me that I am courageous.
I want to cry because it's not true. I'm a coward, and I stand in judgement instead of being the change I want to see in the Body. The beautiful Body of Christ. Are you seeing a theme here lately? Do you wonder if I'll ever get it?
Every week I pray for those who are caught in the cycle of cutting their own flesh, and the Lord begins to reveal to me how I am a cutter myself. Slicing deep gouges into the Body of Christ because what I want? The ONLY thing I ever want is...
My own way.
Watch out. I will cut you if I don't get it, and I will slice open my own Body. My own siblings in Christ. This I must own. This I must repent from and turn away from again to travel the Saving Road. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. The precious Word of God.
To be cleansed. To be healed. To be restored.
To take my place among the members of the Body.