Not too long ago, when I went downstairs to the kitchen in hopes of making my well longed for afternoon coffee, the aunty I was staying with, warned me of a ‘surprise’ in the kitchen. She said there was a ‘bird’. Wondering what aunty was joking about (as surely there couldn’t be a bird in the kitchen), I went there. My goodness, there was a beautiful kingfisher perched on the wall cupboard.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was magnficient.. the blue feathers looked like they were silk and there was a golden edging which I had never noticed before in all the times I had observed a kingfisher. That’s how close by it was. The feathers reminded me of a kanchiwaram sari – silk with its exquisite border.
However, soon the awe was replaced with fear. My eyes travelled to its beak and that scared me. It was piercing and I suddenly began to tremble what it came to peck, we would be ripped apart! The maid was also in the kitchen pouring tea. I don’t know whether the bird noticed us and was equally scared just as we were. It seemed to not mind our presence. It was for the most part still but there were times it would nudge along the cupboards and a couple of times making our hearts go still in trepidation it flew around the kitchen!! Yet it didn’t seem to want to fly out of the window let alone exit through the door.
I was too scared to make my coffee and in fact I left the kitchen. Finally after an hour or so, a long hour at that, we switched the lights off and put an outside light on. Using a broom stick to gently try to coax it out, after many attempts and much time lapsed, it finally left. In the meantime I was praying that our attempts (out of fear I should say) wouldn’t cause any hurt to it, I also prayed the other way around too – if at all it was fearful (which I’m sure it was), I prayed that it shouldn’t defend itself and use that pointy beak!
How often are we so though? How often do we ‘hurt’ the other, shred them to pieces emotionally due to our own fears and insecurities? How often do we ‘sneer’ or ‘condemn’ or ‘criticise’ with labelling and exaggeration simple to preserve our own ‘self worth’ or reputation, to make us feel better?
It’s quite likely that we would be doing the same with God too. If we are doing these things, then it could also be an indication as to how rooted we are in our relationship with God. The deeper our relationship with God, the more we are secure in the knowledge of our identity in Christ. Increasingly we realise that it doesn’t matter what people think of us, but what God sees and knows is important.
People will see the “outside”, the appearance, the “acts” but God sees the heart, the complications, the reasons… He sees the roots that lead to these ‘addictions’ and ‘patterns’ of our ill behaviours. The more we turn to Him in intimacy, He will help us heal from these roots and to break away any chains of bondage and destruction. God knows the repentant hearts of those who long to break free and are on the path to recovery despite stumbling who continually get up and press forward – and He knows those are happy to be in the fallen state. In God’s eyes ‘sin’ is not how a person generally views it – in black and white as right and wrong.. but it is about not doing what He calls us to do.
When we find our identity in God, we know His love.. We recollect the story of the prodigal son and the parable of the lost sheep… We know despite however we have failed or slipped, He is waiting with open arms for us to run back into His embrace. We won’t fear HIm but know that He is a loving and forgiving God – and that He extends GRACE to us….
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command. Whoever loves God must also love his brother – 1 John 4:18-21
So yes, if we love God and have understood His grace and received it wholeheartedly, we will automatically extend grace to the other. He forgives us when we forgive others.. There is a difference between forgiveness and letting another trample over us. Forgiveness is letting go of any ill feelings or bitterness towards the one who hurt us to the extent of being able to pray blessings over their lives.
If you are speaking the truth to another in love, you will also be able to point out the positives in that person in the same conversation. Condemnation will make anyone defensive.
Let’s check our choice of words and tone of voice – if it’s something you wouldn’t want others to use on you, take a reality check and sit at the feet of Jesus to let Him examine your heart.. What fear is holding you down?
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things – Philippians 4:8