It’s all about the relationship. In any kind of relationship hopefully there’s give and take… communication and mutual respect…connection and co-operation. But our relationship with the Lord is totally unique from any we have here on earth. God’s covenant relationship with us is binding and unbreakable…bought by the blood of Jesus Christ…while we were yet sinners. And His loving kindness and mercy towards us has nothing to do with how good we are…for it is a free gift. So think about it…the relationship we have with our Lord is really rather lopsided, with Him giving so much more to us than we could ever give back. This covenant of love that flows between God and us gives us a purpose in life… and as we commit our heart, soul, and strength to Him, we are ever being changed from the inside out.
Jesus summed up best how we should conduct ourselves when it comes to the people in our lives that are unappreciative, ungrateful, and just plain mean. In Luke 6:35-36 Jesus tells us, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Doing the right thing for someone who is critical and inconsiderate goes against everything we’re made of…but Christ reminds us that He shows mercy to all, and we should also.
God is ever merciful and kind towards you…regardless of how badly you act towards Him. It tells us in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” We need to reflect the mercy God first showed us by forgiving others. Forgiveness is so very powerful…because it’s the starting point for both parties to begin the road towards healing. For without forgiveness, there will never be a release from all the negative and dark emotions of resentment, anger, and bitterness. For without forgiveness, you are never really set free from the past.
One of the pit-falls of any ministry is that we start glorifying ourselves, not God. Pride starts to push itself in…and soon our ego is searching for the limelight and honor. II Corinthians 4:1 states, “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” It’s only because of God’s infinite compassion on us that we have any kind of ministry at all. And it’s only because of the indwelling Holy Spirit empowering us that we can act as ambassadors, representing our Lord. When a ministry glorifies God…and not our egos, good things happen.
I used to be a long distance runner…and during those hours on the back roads, I’d yell at God. At the time, I was in the middle of a very personal hell and wanted God to know just how scared and powerless I felt. In my head, I knew the Lord was well aware of the situation…but in my heart, I needed to verbalize the pain. Baring my soul out loud to God was a way I could express feelings I had never spoken to anyone…no one. Putting words to pent-up fear and terror helped me gain perspective. By listening to my own words of anguish, my plight was somehow validated within me. Yes, I yelled at God, but He quietly listened to every word I spilled out…every inner most feelings I couldn’t tell anyone else. For God was there and He listened…He didn’t judge or admonish…He listened.
Do you have an attitude of gratitude towards God? Is your perspective colored by thankfulness for what the Lord has done in your life? It’s then you fully realize the compassion and love God has lavished on you… and that you have been called and set apart for His work. For out of that profound gratitude will come a desire to serve and to live a life worthy of the calling. (Eph. 4:1)