“I am a failure.” Those were the words that paraded through my mind.
I brought these words to the Lord and asked, “Is that true?”
This is what came. You could not get this person to love you at the moment, but that does not make you a failure.
Then the Lord convinced me my goal is not to get others to love me or to do the right thing. Instead it is to love others. The verse that comes to mind is:
…Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12 NIV 1984)
If I pray for the Lord’s love to flow through me to others, this is what I know: His love never fails.
I confess I’ve been at it again—attempting to get people to do the right things, to believe the right things, to give themselves fully to the Lord. And once again I feel like I’m failing miserably. They’re not budging. Their love affairs with the world are too enticing for them to let go.
So that’s when my “I am a failure” thought came recently. I was with one of these people that I’m in the habit of trying to fix. There was a specific “right thing to do” at that moment, which I encouraged this individual to do. Instead of responding positively to my urging, the person declared by their action, “No, I’d rather do the wrong thing. That rule about the right thing in this situation applies to other people and not to me.”
I couldn’t help but think about what our pastor had taught recently—that in order for people to live with themselves and go on doing wrong things, they just redefine what’s right and what’s wrong.
I do spend time trying to define to others what is right based on the Word of God. What a waste of breath, I’m realizing, because they just say, “I define that issue differently than you do.” It feels so wrong to me when they say that—like someone declaring, “I don’t care what the dictionary says. This is how I define that word.”
After my conflict with the individual who sees right and wrong differently than I do in so many areas, and yet proclaims to be a Christian, I spent time alone thinking and praying. God convinced me once again that my words will not change this person’s mind. God’s Word will—when the person decides to turn there and listen.
Sometimes God allows His truth to flow through me to others, but in this case He’s showing me that’s not going to work. I can pray, but I’m not to “say,” so God can speak to this stubborn soul. I am to show mercy, and be kind and loving—even if this person isn’t kind, loving, and merciful toward me.
And I am to hold to this—that God isn’t calling me to get “difficult” people to love me or to do the loving or the right things, but He’s calling me to love others the way He loves me. I’m still learning how to be successful at that.
Lord, continue to teach me how to love like You do. Here I am– Your willing student, wanting to do the right thing.
Will you join me in praying that prayer?