While I don't claim to have it all together, to know exactly all the right moves to make or things to say in certain situations; I have learned quite a bit along the way. Does this mean that in those certain situations I have conquered all and come out on top every time. Hardly! I'm still in cadet mode most days.
I've learned that if I want forgiveness and grace, I must extend it. However, there are those times when I wonder why someone can't get their "act" together. The Lord kindly and tenderly speaks to me, "My dear daughter, you know, you have yet to get past certain issues as well. I'm still working in your life too...just as I am in hers." I bow my head and swallow hard, "Lord, I see, thank you for showing me where I'm wrong and for continuing to work on me. Forgive me." There are times when I'm tempted to give up on someone...only to come to my senses and remind myself, "Girl, you've got so much growing still to do too! How would you feel if someone gave up on you?" Again, I bow my head and humble my heart to ask forgiveness and for God's help. Yes, I've learned the lesson, the basics, but I still have to work on carrying the lesson out - the tactical approach.
You see, the truth is, sometimes I still have issues that must be dealt with - I get stuck in basic training maneuvers. Sometimes I get weak; I bleed. Sometimes I question God. Seems that what I want to do, that I don't; and what I don't want to do, that I do. (Yes, straight from the Bible! We're not the first to face this.) Why? Because I'm still a work in progress. And so are you. We won't be perfected until that great and notable day when we meet our Savior face to face. In the meantime, we have to fight a good fight, we must humble ourselves to God's command.
We become conquerors by pursuing God and being intent on learning the tactical methods no matter how much it hurts. Sometimes the perfect strategy is to simply put ourselves out there, take a risk, humble ourselves and reach out to those who are hurting and can't seem to get it together. Yes, it goes against our grain; but the Lord is trying to make us more like Him. Instead of withholding forgiveness, instead of labeling them as an "Impossible", instead of offering a cold shoulder, maybe we should take a moment to stoop down and meet them right where they are...just like Jesus did for us. That's what it means to be Christ-like. Remember the scripture, "...such were some of you..." - only by the grace of God are we different today.
Let's not forget from whence we came and that we have been washed and forgiven. It's easy to label, to write-off, to give up on...but that's not God's way. His way is to stoop down and write in the sand, to say to us He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone. It's so hard to do sometimes; but it's a sign that we're becoming more of who God wants us to be - a sign that we are moving up in the ranks of this army. God, help us follow your commands and carry out each with grace and dignity. We need each other. Join me on this one. "Fight on, soldier girl!" It's NOT a mission impossible.
God, make us more like you! Help us to look beyond the surface,
to hurting people who need hope, help us to forgive and accept,
to be patient, to love and put ourselves aside.