How often do we see someone that we interacted with at some point of time in the past and we back off when we see them again years later? How often do we back off from someone that we haven’t interacted with but someone we know had interacted with and cautioned us to back off? Often we are ‘stuck in time’ with our opinions.
I reflect on my life as an example. Moving to Sri Lanka was an incredibly hard decision for me – it wasn’t something I wanted to do and boy did I try to wriggle out of it. However, I knew I heard God’s voice clearly and I finally caved in. This is not my comfort zone, in fact to me in many ways it’s a ‘cage’, a place where many people have expectations of people to be a certain way and follow the norm. Their norm isn’t my norm culturally.. and now my ‘norm’ is what God would want me to do which is out of the norm in every which way!
Worse, people didn’t understand me, they couldn’t understand my personality as I was indeed a fish out of water. I was different. If I had been white or black, I guess they would have embraced me, but to many I was a traitor. They refused to try to understand that I had lived in the Western world most of my life; my education and career had been in the male dominant analytical fields giving an indication of my personality. I was used to being one of the ‘guys’ and I question everything!
When people don’t understand you, they reject you – Derek Prince
And not only do we tend to reject people when we don’t understand them, we get stuck in time about it too. We don’t know the whole picture of the situation that the person is in. In fact, about the one who has surrendered his life to God,
I remember the time of stepping into living by faith. Without a carefully planned out budget to run my life, I was scared, nervous and I simply didn’t know what was to be classified as a ‘need’ and what was a ‘want’. I LACKED faith to spend and I was scared that if I spent on the WRONG things what would I do if I couldn’t pay my rent, bills, college fees! It was a process that God was taking me through, a process of breaking me, renewing my mind, transforming me and healing me of various baggages! So many people labelled me and rejected me. It’s sad because not only did they not understand my situation, they didn’t want to understand and hear me out – and if they did hear me out it was just to add head and tail to spread gossip and ‘warn’ others about me. Some of them are still stuck in time in regards to this.
I, on the other hand, am truly grateful for these years of learning to depend on my Heavenly Father to know Him as my all in all and to increasingly grow in intimacy with Him getting rid of my earthly mindsets including self sufficiency, independency, pride etc.
So when I think of it from what I have gone through, and how much I have grown as a person over the years and how much I have changed – and still have much room to change too – I can be grateful to those who don’t have a fixed opinion of me that is stuck to time! In fact, I am grateful for the blessings of friends who spur me on and encourage me as to how far I have come 🙂
This serves as a CAUTION to all of us – including myself not to ‘judge’ others in their situations, not to judge the reactions but try to understand the root causes. Well, we have the right to make a judgement and hold onto it as gospel truth but then we will have to give account to God. Our judgment at the time could have been discerned by God or it could have been well founded and truthful but it also could have been merely perspectives formed with / blinded by wrong motives.
To put it simply, if we truly have encountered God’s grace we will not be putting people down in their current situations let alone keep them stuck in time. What God has cleansed and what God is doing we have no right to condemn! Being stuck in time, holding onto the law of our opinions could be us playing God. Even if the person had been ‘wicked’ at that time, we need to be open to the fact that God could have changed the person and done a mighty miracle in that person. It is so important that in every situation we ask God for discernment to know when to be harmless as doves and when to be shrewd as serpents. If we are being harmful and if we are ‘punishing’ someone by labelling them or telling them how difficult they are, then we may need to ask God where we stand in our relationship with HIM.
Us being stuck in time is like opting for oil lamps (or rather the method that one was accustomed to) for lighting even when electricity is available!
Jesus makes it clear in order for God to forgive us our sins, we need to forgive one another of their sins. Forgiving one another isn’t allowing them to repeat their wicked ways as that is encouraging their sin. Forgiving one another however is setting ourselves free from anger, bitterness, revenge etc. Being stuck in time with unforgiveness or bitterness in our hearts is going to affect us. (Roots of bitterness often causes cancer – apparently! This is for food for thought not a concrete fact!)
We need to ask God when we need to vamoose from someone’s life to help them and we need to ask God when we are vamoosing from someone or rejecting someone because of our own pride or even what God is trying to do in our lives through them. Running away from the waiting room of the surgeries God is doing in our lives is just going to put us back into an even more intense surgery until we surrender and let God do what He wants to do.
Let us be mindful of being stuck in time with our opinions of others that are actually insulting God which could even be us protecting ourselves. May God helps us be His vessels with His love flowing in us and through us!
(More on people and relationships in the next post! Stay tuned!).