He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness…(Hebrews 5:2)
Shame is a powerful tool found in the hands of many Christians- myself included. I can recall many times in years past unknowingly being so right and trying to correct such poor behavior that instead of being a field for people to grow, I was pulling people out of the garden, because I wasn’t patient enough to sit with them in their process of growth.
Since then, I have learned the valuable lesson of practicing deep patience with others, being their support and encouragement in the garden, instead of protecting the garden from people who do wrong things.
Friend, that’s the beautiful journey we’re all on. It’s a journey that is hard and challenging. It requires such deep humility that we might even be shocked by the level of it we have to practice sometimes. I know I have felt that way. But humility isn’t something we practice because we have to, it’s something we join with God in so that we can become a safe place for other people being made into His image. That they might come and grow, mess up, grow some and mess up again.
I get it though, sometimes you just want to throw the baby out with the bath water, you want to be done with that person or thing. It just feels easier to push it out and start over. I understand all of that, I really do. But how can we become people of compassion and grace if we’re not willing to sit with people in their pain and struggle just as long, if not longer, than we are willing to dance with them on mountaintops?
Friend, much of what I have experienced these past few years has challenged me to grow as a Christian, because I’m walking not on the mountain, but placing myself in a position of prayer, waiting and trust. Waiting is not something I’m good at, but prayer is where God works to prepare something good as we wait long enough for Him to bring it forth. The longer we pray for people, and wait with them in the garden, we can be certain we will see a good thing spring forth from it. All for the glory of God and for the growth of our own hearts too.
Lord, I don’t want to be arrogant and prideful. I have been that way. I want to be humble, kind, patient and long-suffering. Make me more like you, each day, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.