It was an “us” versus “them” situation. And not in a friendly, competitive kind of way. It was a battle, the lines were drawn.
Actually, it was an “everybody” versus “the others.” If you weren’t an “everybody”, then you didn’t count. We were the others. We weren’t invited to certain events. When we asked who attended, we were told “everybody” was there.
We weren’t told information that we should have been privy to. When we asked why we weren’t made aware, the answer was “everybody” knew. Yep, we were the others.
And then it happened: we had six deaths in our family and circle of friends within one year. The hardest was my mom, and then two weeks later my father-in-law.
My world was rocked to it’s very core. I wondered how people could carry on, doing the same old things. Carrying the same grudges. Never changing. Life is too short!
Something needed to change. However, it was obvious everybody didn’t feel the same way I did. After a time of grieving, things returned to the old normal. But I wanted and needed a new normal.
Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Romans 12:17-19 (MSG)
I stopped hitting back. I stopped playing everybody’s the game. I tried to live with a reconciliatory attitude. I tried to see the beauty that God saw in everybody. I tried to get along. And, if I found I “didn’t have it in me,” well then, those were the times I would opt out of situations with everybody.
Most of all I prayed. For everybody. And for me. For my heart to be changed and softened.
Truth be told, I’m still a work in progress with this. My outward actions have improved. But my heart is slower to change. My heart is hanging on to the hurt, still judging.
Have you ever been there? Wanting to change. Needing to change. Praying to change. And still slipping back into your old ways? Just like the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, we want to do what is good, but we don’t. We have the intent and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. Romans 7:18-19 (NLT)
If this is you (and it CERTAINLY is ME!), you may recognize this list from Romans 7:21-25 (MSG):
*It happens regularly (wanting to do right, but not doing it)
*Sin nature taking charge
*Trying everything and nothing helps
So what’s a gal to do? Give up? Find help? Who can help?
Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
Romans 7:24-25 MSG
But there is hope, and this is it: Christ in me, hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
Jesus is in me, waiting for me to call on Him. It’s a choice I make to turn to Christ and follow the path He has for me…the path of sanctification and change He intends for my life.
Yes, something needs to change. And it needs to be me. With the power of Christ in me, I can be transformed from the inside out.
Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. Romans 12:2 (CEV)
Until next week,
Joining these lovely writers. Be sure to visit their pages, you’ll be encouraged!
Suzie Eller, Live Free Thursday
Susan at Dance with Jesus
Barbie at The Weekend Brew
Kelly at Purposeful Faith
Holly at Testimony Tuesday
Holley at Coffee for Your Heart
Jennifer at Tell His Story
Jana at Sweet to the Soul