‘Take these feelings away.’ That was the prayer racing through my mind as I lay awake in bed that night. Now on night two of these frustrated words rattling me from sleep, I desperately wanted this feeling to leave, yet there it was again, and I couldn’t shake it.
Giving up on my seemingly unanswered prayer, I sat up and furiously began to imagine myself writing an email to someone I was upset with. The frustration within me was intense, so much so that I could almost hear the words as I formed them in anger, and could feel the hard tapping of my fingers as I pictured myself typing what I desired to say in my attempt to put them in their place.
You see, several days prior to this I had learned a secret. It was a secret that I wasn’t even involved in, but one that knowing it sent a shock of irritation down my spine causing my jaw to tighten and my hands to clench in a fit of anger. ‘How dare they?’ was my first thought. ‘They know better,’ was the next. And then…what threw me into even more of a tizzy?? They didn’t even act as though anything was wrong, and that façade of happiness struck a nerve within me that made me want to single handedly tear that wall down exposing the thing I knew in order for everyone to see.
…And there I sat absorbed in these thoughts. Thoughts that I knew were wrong over a situation that had nothing to do with me…
It was then as I lay awake battling my feelings that God answered what I thought to be an unanswered prayer as he beckoned me to pray – again. As I sat there praying through my thoughts of frustration, and repenting for the feelings I had, it began to feel as if Jesus himself stepped into that room as my mind was filled with images of nails in his hands and feet, a crown of thorns placed on his head, and the heaviness as he gasped to draw His next breath. It was in that moment that I remembered it wasn’t just the sins of the person I was so upset with that pinned our Savior to that cross, but my own.
Acknowledgement of the plank
‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’
My attitude and judgement over this person were wrong. My feelings of frustration and anger were out of line, and rather than sitting and composing words of meanness in my mind and forming a speech that I wanted to declare to them, God was really calling me to prayer for them, and letting me know that their sin although different than mine was no more worse, and these divisive feelings within me were not helping anyone, in fact if I were to actually verbalize the things I wanted to –
I was going to become a stumbling block on the path they were on that was directing them to the place of repentance that God Himself was calling them to.
I’m not alone in this instance of frustration over someone else’s issue. Isn’t it interesting how we get so wrapped up in the actions of others? We focus on their shortcomings, their sins, their wrongdoings, and we feel as though it is our personal purpose to straighten them out. But those feelings if we are not careful, and do not bridle our tongue form a stumbling block on another person’s path to repentance, rather than the hand we are called to be which reaches down, pulls them up, and encourages them to continue on in pursuit of our Heavenly Father.
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God
I thank God that the words I longed to say did not slip from my mouth and were not catapulted into the email realm. I thank God for this feeling of conviction that I so desperately needed.
There’s something incredible that happens when we allow God to be God.
You see, as days went by I began to watch as God began to work. I saw as He brought the situation to light, and I witnessed as He alone orchestrated events that ushered in a healing that only He could perform.
As all of this transpired before me, I couldn’t help but allow my thoughts to wonder…what if I spoke my peace, and unleashed my words of frustration, would my words have stifled God’s work from being carried out? Yes, yes, they would have, and it reminded me that we never – NEVER know what is going on in the lives of those around us, and how dare we allow our superior know-it-all thinking to throw a stumbling block onto the God ordered path of another?
His grace is truly enough to cover a multitude of sins.
Today I encourage us all to be more intentional in our handlings of one another and as we do may we bask in the release of our judgmental mindsets as they shift to a disposition of grace as we are called into agreement with His word. If you find yourself in a similar situation today, I write this to you. It is not our place to lash out in judgement over another. It is not our place to give them what we think they deserve, and it is certainly not our place to expose their shortcomings to others in gossip. My purpose is to embolden you to take those thoughts of frustration to the Lord. Pray to our gracious Father, that the grace he poured out on us in cleansing us from our sins, that He would do the same to them, and bring them into a spirit of repentance. Ask God to help this person to seek His will and not theirs alone. Ask God to remove these feelings from you, and ask that He would handle this as He alone sees fit.
‘Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.’
There is power when we pray one for another. When we do this earnestly sitting in self-reflection acknowledging that we too are a sinner in our own way, there is a beautifully honest prayer that is birthed. It is through that sincerity and cry out to our Lord that creates a response in Him. He will move when we Choose Him.