There is no god besides you, Lord, whose care is for all people, to whom you should prove that you have not judged unjustly.
For your strength is the source of righteousness, and your sovereignty over all causes you to spare all. For you show your strength when people doubt the completeness of your power, and you rebuke any insolence among those who know it. Although you are sovereign in strength, you judge with mildness, and with great forbearance you govern us; for you have power to act whenever you choose.
Through such works you have taught your people that the righteous must be kind, and you have filled your children with good hope, because you give repentance for sins.
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I have known Jesus for 5 years. In that time, my relationships have shifted. My relationships with Christians have deepened and grown, but my BC (Before Christ) relationships have wavered. Some have maintained status-quo, others have become distant, and others still have fallen away completely. Some of this is my fault—not because I don’t want to maintain these relationships, but because my priorities have recalibrated—no longer about my wants and desires, as much as they are about knowing Jesus and doing His will… mostly.
Recently, I have come to realize that, “His care is for all people”. I know that this is Christianity 101, guys. I know the ten commandments, and Jesus’s narrowed focus on God and neighbour, but I have come to a deeper understanding of this.
He has first led me through a gentle and beautiful maturation process that allowed me to till and nourish my soil, so that I would be of good use to others in His Kingdom. Part of this process is learning who I am in Him, which involves letting Him into the well-protected spaces within myself that require His loving touch in order to heal. I have had a lot of work to do in order that my soil could be well prepared to receive Him, and to grow roots deep enough to sustain my relationship with Him when adversity strikes.
This is an essential journey of allowing His righteousness to absorb my righteousness. Without doing this good work in my journey with Christ, I can hurt others because of my limited understanding of who He is, and how He calls me to be in this world. My righteousness can cause me to become judgemental of unrighteous behaviour—forgetting all the unrighteous behaviour I myself am guilty of either interiorly or expressively.
Let’s set the record straight: I am not more than others because I know Jesus.
One of my BC friends went through a difficult time recently, and she honoured me with the opportunity to walk with her through this trial. I did little beyond being present to her through her struggle, but she expressed an overwhelming appreciation for my support. This time together moved her to a place of great vulnerability and she reached out to apologize to me. I was humbled by her apology, because what she apologized for was an honest unveiling of the elephant we both knew had been lingering in the room. She apologized for not believing I would love her unconditionally. She didn’t stop there, though, she stripped that elephant bare: she apologized because it was my faith that led her to believe my love had limits. She carried shame for feeling her goodness paled in comparison to my goodness because she wasn’t Christian. Shame on me.
“Through such works you have taught your people that the righteous must be kind… ”
What has my conversion to Christ taught the people around me? Have I drawn on His strength and goodness so that all who know me feel loved by Him? Has my kindness been the mark He leaves on others I encounter?
Forgive me, Father, for ever counting myself as more than any other of Your children.