Recently, I completely failed the Lord in practicing patience and mercy. I pray always for patience and yet when given the opportunity to gain this virtue, I become the most angry and irritable person. I felt very convicted this morning as I read in Ephesians 4:1-2: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
I preach unity, love, peace but I can’t even control my own feelings, thoughts, or actions. Lord, what will you do with a hypocrite like me? I sit and wonder what it is that you showed Saint Paul that gave him the ability to minister and serve with such self-sacrifice and love. Maybe I just need to see You more clearly with the eyes of faith? Maybe I need to repent of my pride more? Maybe I still don’t quite understand how much You have forgiven me?
If I was giving someone else advice about my own problem, I would tell them to step away from the situation when feelings of irritability arise. I would ask them to watch their thoughts and think about what is making them angry in particular. I would probably also tell them to discuss their feelings with that person (if a person is involved), in a calm way, to avoid making the situation worse. I would also tell them to remember their own insecurities, perhaps the enemy is playing on one of these sore spots.
It’s high time I take my own advice. I was feeling pretty devastated before the Lord about my behaviour when I read Ephesians 3:13: “Therefore, I ask that you do not lose heart in my tribulations for you, which is your glory.” Saint Paul knew that his tribulations are nothing in comparison to building the faith of the Ephesians. My tribulations can not make me lose heart either because they are for my own glory, my own strengthening in the faith and moulding into the image of Christ my master.
Likewise, I remember the verses I just wrote about from Micah 7:-10: “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to light; I will see His righteousness.” I will not let my enemy have the last laugh and I will not allow myself to sink into self-pity. I will learn to arise when I fall with persistence because I know in the end the Lord will bring me forth to righteousness and I will see Him clearly for I will be like Him (1 John 3:2).
Finally, I saw this quote (as I came on to post this article) from the great Saint Anthony, “It is not seemly for us to remember the time which has passed, but let a man be each day as one who begins his toil, so that the excessive weariness (which we shall feel) may be to our advantage. And let him say, as Paul said, “That which is behind me I forget, and I reach out to that which is before me’ (Philippians 3:13). And let him also remember the word of Elijah who said, ‘As the Lord lives, before Whom I stand this day (1 Kings 17:1).'”** I must always look forwards and not backwards. Today is a new opportunity to shine the love and likeness of Christ to the world and I cannot miss this opportunity because of yesterday.
Although this blogpost started in remorse, sorrow, and hopelessness, it is ending in praise of our Great God – The Holy Trinity. I thank my Lord that He is so loving and kind that even when I am rightfully down about my sins against Him, He lifts me up to appreciate the glory and mercy of a new day. Like the Samaritan woman I approached my saviour Jesus Christ in darkness and He transformed it into light saying, “Go and sin no more (John 8:11).”
God be with us all today and everyday. May He grant us His love for others, His patience, and His wisdom.