A few hours ago, while I was having my dinner I was reflecting on my life of the last chapter… it was a time that I admit I was struggling to cope and get used to this missionary life here in Sri Lanka – being in essence a ‘white’ woman clothed in ‘brown’ skin as I see myself and that too adopting to living by faith.
During the process of adjusting, knowing where to compromise, knowing where to stand up for my beliefs and against oppression, knowing where to fit in and where to stand out when I have to. Obviously I have been emotional at times and said the wrong things or perhaps said the right things at the wrong times and I have also said the right things at the right time but all of which doesn’t necessarily sit well with people.
And then of course is this whole threaded grapevine of the Christian religious society that loves to transmit messages from one end to the other based on hearsay 🙂 It actually reminds me of that game we used to play where one whispers a message or a word into one’s ear and that person continues on to the next one.. round the group till it comes back to the originator. How often does that message come the way it went out? I’m having a good chuckle here! That’s exactly how this was.. It’s not just ‘hearing’ in this situation it’s filtering through one’s one lenses of understanding… and their worldviews and perceptions and exposures which can be pretty different and perhaps even conflicting to mine. Of course envy, selfish ambition, insecurity and other acts of the fleshly nature too rear its ugly head.
Then of course the ‘recipient’ of the message never wants to come and clarify what was said with or what wasn’t said but rather hearsay.
So in a nutshell, I have had a group of people ignore and reject me.. perhaps a whole group of people.. and I have earned a few not so pretty labels encouraging others in their senses to stay away from me. It’s saddens me that some of these people were people I had hung around with during my teens.
Yes I admit I’m not perfect.. I admit that I had a lot of issues that I was working through then.. and I do not like my imperfections but I also know that I am by God’s grace and strength digging deeper and deeper and allowing Him to restore me gently and lovingly.. but I continue to be a work in progress.
Yes may be all those people who have ignored me and rejected me, they may be perfect in their eyes and thus not happy when I have said something about some of their actions that have irked me… based on what they have done to others. But then again those are actions and not necessarily what I think of them as a person. God asks us to love the sinners and not the sin.
Of course if the sin is causing me to stumble or weighing me down, I do need to pull away.. and likewise these others need to pull away. But was I making them stumble or abusing them or taking advantage of them? Does it hurt? yes it does. However as I write all this, it makes me appreciate even more those who have stood by me despite my weaknesses and failures and mistakes and me having hurt them and spoken the truth to me in love and given me chances to change – and these friends I see as strong in God 🙂
So here I was reflecting hurting and thanking God for all this and whispered a prayer for them.. and then I cleaned up after dinner and came back to my laptop to resume the translation work on hand but simply couldn’t resist from taking a peek at my fb. The featured image on this post was staring at me in my newsfeed.
Coincidence? Certainly NOT!
This is how God loves us and speaks to us and encourages us..
So here I am, putting my intended task aside and writing this instead!
I would seriously love some of those nasty false labels to be taken away from me and I also pray that those who crowned me with it with delight would realise and repent of their wrong doings as I really wouldn’t want them facing God on that count. It is God’s heart that all of us will see what we do wrong.. and that we repent and be led by Him. That should thus be our hearts too..
Likewise, it is God’s heart that we all speak the TRUTH to one another in love. No, I will not pretend and fake it.. and if others can’t accept that, I can only whisper a prayer for them.
I pray that my heart will never be hardened against any of them and that I would continuously love them and never take any actions of revenge only by His grace and His strength and His love as I so cannot do that in my own strength and what not!
But yes, many of you will be able to relate to this and I believe God wanted me to just write this so that you too can be encouraged – that you aren’t the only one, this does happen to God’s servants.. Well it happened to Jesus left right and centre didn’t it? Be encouraged that God does see all this and He is giving time to all concerned, a time like HE gave to King David to repent and change.. Let’s pray that the labellers and accusers will indeed soften their hearts and let’s also pray that people will realise that when God has given us a clean slate by the blood of Jesus, that our past is past and there is no condemnation, that we ourselves or others have the right to stick a label on anyone!
Every one of us – you, me, the accusers, the labellers are created by God in HIS image!