Having had struggles in both directions, in this morning’s search for inspirational inserts to add to my homemade cards, each of these quotes caught my heartstrings:
Proverbs 4:23New International Version (NIV)23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) 23 Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.
The broken opinions people seem to have of me: is it simply my very good imagination or is it true that every time this one looks at me I come up wanting as a Christian in his/her eyes? Do I not look like Jesus to him/her?
Since I’ve seen others post similar questions, I know I’m not the only one to have similar wonderings.
Here’s the rub: Jesus has taught, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For with the way you judge, you will be judged, and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-3nasb) This section of scripture, along with those regarding forgiving as I forgive others has helped keep me better in line than I would be otherwise in my walk as God’s child. As I read it this particular morning, impressed into my heart also came Luke 2:1-4(nasb):“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.’”
Do you see what I see? I don’t want to look up to see that hurt look on the face of my Lord because in my own eyes, I have found myself giving better gifts (a “more Christian life”, if you will) to Him, than my lowly sister, nor do I want to be that looked-down-upon lowly sister. What position would that put my brother or sister in if my imagination about his/her attitude were correct?
Herein, lies more of the struggle: am I judging?
Since this is not an open, hostile action – simply one of questioning in the mind at this point – the ideal of going to the person(s) directly to settle a conflict would be great. Matthew 5:23-24(nasb):”Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
The real issue here, being it may be I am imagining the whole thing, if handled by my going and asking, “Have I done something to offend you?” could possibly come from outer space as far as the recipient is aware, and an easy and honest, “No!” would escape. (I would generally call first, so any get-together would not be a surprise.)
However, just as with not only the way someone looks at us, there are feelings that emanate between us as well. It may be the way the person holds his/her body, given opportunity, almost never appears to wish to have interaction, seems unwilling to share a friendly smile when just about everyone else you meet does (but we must remember it could be his/her nature to hold back), but, in keeping with trying to find why the seeming conflict, should we catch such a someone unawares with such a question as, “Have I done something to offend you?”, we might cause him/her embarrassment, thus it’d be better to prepare with a phone or text message that, “I have something I’d like to discuss with you sometime soon if you could have some time with me.” Then, pray about your method of explaining and the way the hearer will be able to receive your explanation. Be gentle. Ask. Do not accuse.
So, while I still question, “Is it judging?”, whether it is or not,(I tend to lean towards it is), it seems best soon gone like any other evil thoughts, reminding us of the saying:
“You may not be able to stop a bird from landing in your hair,
but you can keep it from building a nest there.”
We started this message with the teaching to be careful what we think, because our thoughts control our lives. (Proverbs 4:23erv) I also found this quote that is applicable:
“Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people,
a heart that forgives the worst,
a mind that forgets the bad,
and a soul that never loses faith in God.”
Treat as you would want to be treated, remembering that whatever we do to others is the same as if we did it directly to Jesus in person. These are the ways we look like Jesus to others because these are the ways He taught us to choose.
With these thoughts in mind, the question due each one of us daily,
Do we look like Jesus to one another?
© M Sue