In the United
States the celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ
In other parts
of the world where the celebration of
This gospel stops me, Lord. I think you mean these words for all of us – for me. You are telling me that my salvation depends not only on my being “righteous” – good, holy, together – but upon how I treat others – particularly how I treat those that aren’t good, holy, or together.
You know that those are the people that make me angry. From my mother’s womb you instructed me to do good and avoid evil. Even though I myself have failed many times, and sinned against you, I still get upset at others who seem to play by different rules, those who seem to be selfish or phony, and especially those who seem to act unjustly or harm others. What about those to plan and execute the destruction of innocent life – in war, in abortion, in corrupt and death dealing policies? Aren’t those the people I’m supposed to be upset with?
Okay, I know I’m not supposed to “judge.” (You said, “Don’t judge and you won’t be judged.”) And I understand that I’m supposed to separate the deed from the person. But, don’t these people upset you? Didn’t you show some anger at what they’d done to the temple? I’ve never turned over any tables.
When we are rational about it, we know that anger is like a cancer that eats away at us. I’ve heard anger described as similar to eating rat poison and hoping the rat dies. It only harms us, and our ability to live as your disciples.
Seriously, it would be a radical change for all of us, who are your followers, to surrender all of our judgments of others. We would have to really realize that you “desire mercy, not sacrifice.” We don’t want to be servants who come away from your forgiving love and turn to our fellow servants and refuse them mercy. Your Word helps me to learn again that being “religious” is empty if it isn’t filled with compassion. You call us all to go beyond the beliefs we have convictions about, to a humble faith in you as the Savior.
Help me today, dear Lord, to remember your merciful love for us all. Teach me your own compassionate patience, especially for the people I’m tempted to criticize, for the people with whom I am the harshest. Throughout the day, when I’m in this circumstance or with that person, when I hear about the failings of others or am tempted to see myself as better than anyone else, drive away the Evil Spirit from my heart.
Lord, let me desire to experience the gift of freedom from
all anger. With your healing grace, set my heart free to love
as you have loved me.
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