I don’t know about you, but in my every day life sometimes I get bogged down in details, minutiae, and other attention absorbing stuff. Its easy to do. Its easy to let our lives be consumed by what is right in front of us. When this happens, our world becomes really small and we tend to not think anything matters other than what we’re dealing with.

From my own experience in life, I know when I am consumed with my own stuff I can get really aggravated and not always pleasant to deal with. It happens. I get so immersed in what I’m dealing with and then my tendency is to lash out when I’m thrown off of what I’m trying desperately to take care of.

When we find ourselves in those kinds of situations, who is it we seem to treat the worst? Probably those who are closest to us.

I think to myself, if Jesus interrupted my train of thought, wasn’t helping me with MY problem, MY issue, My siituation, how would I react? Would I slow down, would I take the time to listen, to give my attention, to try and understand what Jesus was saying and doing? Would I be respectful and loving in my responses to Jesus? Would I give Jesus all the love and support I could at any moment he crosses my path?

When I think back over all the times my patience wore thin with others. When I think back on the unkind words I’ve uttered when things didn’t go my way. When I think back about how I pushed and prodded others to get my way over and against what they wanted/felt/believed was the right way. I become very quiet, very introspective, and realize the depth of my need to repent, to do and be better.

Every person has the image of God imprinted on them. Every person is a child of God. Every person is a sister or brother who is loved by Jesus. What would Jesus think of how I act toward others? Would Jesus be pleased with my words? Would Jesus think my actions were justified? Would Jesus say to me, well done, good and faithful servant?

I know our lives are sometimes chaotic and crazy. I know our lives can be full of anxiety. I know our lives can have those tense moments that stretch us beyond our comfort zones. The thing is, Jesus knows this too.

When Jesus was arrested in the Garden and interrogated by the religious authorities, and they had determined he deserved to die, all his disciples had scattered and abandoned him. We’re told Peter was standing in the courtyard and at three different times was confronted about his association with Jesus. Three times, Peter said no. Peter was anxious, fearful, tense, on edge, at his wits end. Lots and lots of stuff was raging in Peter. All Peter could see, all he could worry about, all he could focus on, was himself. Jesus knew all of this was going to occur, and yet he still said to Peter that he was the rock upon which Jesus would build his church. After the resurrection, Peter knew the forgiveness of Jesus. Peter knew he had yet another chance to get it right.

Isn’t this where we find ourselves too? When we’ve treated or spoken to others in unkind ways, do we need another chance to get it right? Maybe the next time we’ll do better, act better, speak better. Maybe the next time before we speak, before we act, we will perceive a little bit of Jesus in the person we’re interacting with. Maybe we’ll say to ourselves, “this time, I’m going to get it right!”

Loving and forgiving God,

You see us. You hear us. You are there when we are sometimes at our worst. Forgive our lapses in kindness. Instill in us a desire to do, and be, and speak with kindness and love. You know our faults, and yet we know you see beyond them. Thank you for giving us another chance to be who you created us to be.

Your companion on the Way,

Pastor Tom

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