In preparation for our upcoming Camp Meeting at church, we were given a bulletin insert of "Heart-Searching for Prayer Preparation and Personal Revival", with questions to review, pray over, and answer.
Yesterday I did the first section. Using Matthew 6:12-14 "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptaion, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."
And now, for the questions:
Is there anyone against whom you hold a grudge?
Anyone you have not forgiven?
Anyone you hate?
Anyone you do not love?
Are there any misunderstandings that you are unwilling to forget?
Is there any person against whom you are harboring bitterness, resentment, or jealousy?
Anyone you dislike to hear praised or well spoken of?
Do you allow anything to justify a wrong attitude toward another?
Yowsa. Steppin' on some toes there. But hey, this is scripture - not some life coaching, how to live your best life now nonsense. Scripture tells us that if we say we love God and hate our brother, we are liars. We cannot love God and hate our brothers. Cannot. If we do so, God is not in us. That is some paraphrasing on my part, here is the actual scripture, "Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes." 1 John 2:9-11. The light here, is Christ - salvation. So, if you say you are saved, but yet hate your brother - consider whether or not you are truly saved. That is not me judging, by the way - that is me admonishing you to consider what scripture has to say.
So, as I look through these, most of it is pretty easy-peasy. I have done much prayer and soul-searching over the years, and really, I do not think there is anyone that I have not forgiven. There is no one I hate. Is there anyone I don't love?
Had to think about this. There are definitely some people (not many, and they fall in the category of "I have forgiven") that if I saw them in Walmart, I might scootch my cart the other way. Not many. Only two I can think of, actually. But do I hate them? No. Do I love them?
I have some acquaintances that get on my nerves some. We all have those people who are sort of sandpaper to us. Usually the things that annoy us about them are the things we don't like in ourselves, if we really take the time to examine it. If they get on my nerves, does that mean I don't love them?
I posed this question to my husband yesterday. Ladies, take scriptural questions to your husband first, if you can. He listened to me, and then he asked me, "The people who aggravate you, or who you don't want to see in Walmart - if they needed you - would you help them?"
Yes, I would, if I could.
He says that the willingness to give of myself is loving them. I am paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it (when we have deep spiritual talks at 7 a.m., they end up paraphrased.).
Is there anyone I am jealous of?
Hmmm....envious might be a better word. I am envious of my dear friend Angel. She is so disciplined - I feel like a schlump next to her at times. But maybe that isn't jealousy - let's say I appreciate those qualities in her that I don't have. We make a good team.
Do I allow anything to justify a wrong attitude toward another?
Yes. Sometimes. Back to the sandpaper people. The ones who unknowingly irritate me. But I do recognize that in myself now. When I am being critical of someone, I feel badly about it. I repent. I have been known to go to the hearer of my complaining and apologize to them for making them a party to my critical spirit. I guess I could say then that I briefly justify a wrong attitude. But the Holy Spirit doesn't let that last long. When we are saved, we have that conscience, the Holy Spirit, working in us. We can no longer enjoy sin. Sin has to become distasteful to us.
Some sins take longer than others. There are 23 sections of questions. I think if I make it through all of the questions, I may manage to hit most of my sin. On one hand, I kind of don't want to do this. Facing sin is painful sometimes. On the other hand, though, facing the sin and repenting brings us closer to God. Is there anything too hard for that?
We shall find out.