Integrity, kindness, humility, and grace are qualities I strive for in my little life. At times, it seems impossible to exhibit such virtues in the face of pride, hatred, and incivility, and, yet as followers of Christ, we are called to do exactly that - the impossible.
Emotions have been running high for a nation torn apart by civil unrest, injustice, a virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, and a presidential race that affects the world, not just our fifty states. Our common home is most certainly and continuously under attack from our greatest enemy, Satan. Lately, it feels unrelenting as a fire of animosity is lit and stoked by politicians, news anchors, neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family, most egregiously pitting Christian against Christian. A divisive, disoriented, and disconnected Body of Christ cannot function fully, which is precisely what our enemy, the devil, wants. It is sometimes hard for me to wrap my brain around Christians having such different political views. Still, I then remember that God is a lover of variety and our opinions, personalities, and passions provide a balance in the Body of Christ, albeit sometimes a frustrating balance.
What do we do when we feel that deep pang of injustice and our zeal for goodness turns sour in our words and hearts? My initial response to this question was not Christ-like. I wish I had the grace, patience, wisdom, and love of St. Paul or St. Teresa of Calcutta. But instead, my blood boiled, and I wanted to reject the world that can be so thoughtless and cruel. The sin that has marred the world since Adam and Eve blooms in mind as I focus on the world’s brokenness and mourn a world that will never come to pass. Even in my yearning for peace, my thoughts are corrupted, and instead of treating others with grace, I become angry.
Only in heaven will righteousness truly reign. Injustice will always rule on earth because of the sin that entered the world. That is not to say that we should give up the fight for justice. Just the opposite, we are called to serve and be the hands and feet of Jesus on earth. I often struggle with the following: finding hope and trusting that our sovereign Lord is in control and resigning myself to rely upon and trust in his care of all things.
I repeatedly have to remind myself that ultimately all evil will end. Christ has already won. I have to remember that I cannot wage war against unfairness and oppression on my own, as I also pray for the grace to exude kindness and patience to those who would be against me.
While waiting for the Second Coming of Christ, Christians are called in for damage control and to demonstrate the love of God through our works and words. As Christians are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus on earth, we are also called to find and hone our own unique skills, which can be used to win others to Christ and show the goodness of our God.
“To each individual, the manifestation of the Spirit has been given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit”. - (1 Corinthians 12: 7-9, NRSVCE)
This verse continues to list many more skills and ways the Spirit works in each of us. If all of us find our unique calling, our extraordinary God-given talents that can be used to support the Church and assist our broken world, the world will be better because of it. One of my favorite populations to work with is senior citizens. I don’t know why, but when I see wrinkly seniors in walkers and wheelchairs, I want to give them a big hug and remind them they are loved. That is God’s Spirit working in me, reminding these individuals they are not unloved or unwanted.
If you want a hand finding your unique gifts, I encourage you to take the S.H.A.P.E personality quiz. Designed by Pastor Rick Warren, S.H.A.P.E. stands for skills, heart, ability, personality, and experience and can help you realize your full potential. The gifts the Spirit has given you to make a mark on our broken world. Take the quiz at http://freeshapetest.com.
God bless and let’s get to work!
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” - Rabindranath Tagore