God spoke to me how He usually speaks to me — in an unanticipated way.
He reminded me of the ways I think and live and judge situations wrongly.
Times when I notice:
1. a car not give way to me, I often hear God remind me that I’ve done that several times myself — usually without intending to. And so, His reminder of my hypocritical nature stops that judging thought in its tracks. I have more empathy for the humanness in people operating a motor vehicle.
2. another Weinstein-gate story hit the news, as I experience anger toward such men, God highlights my propensity to have my glance drawn toward attractive women. I may not act on my desires, but I do think inappropriate thoughts. Again, in my hypocrisy my Lord speaks. I’m slower to condemn the fallen.
3. someone being ridiculously harsh on themselves, a memory flashes before my eyes of my proclivity to do that. Sure, as a pastor I find it ridiculous how self-condemning people often are, yet so too do I struggle with that from time to time.
4. a person parading a faith-system different to mine, by way of attempting to convert me, God shows me how I think — ‘don’t they know I’m devoutly Christian — like, how dare they!’ Then, I’m shown how quickly I evangelise when given the opportunity. Is it my right to speak of my faith and not theirs?
5. someone doing something I would never do… He helps me remember the truth. Like Peter said he would never deny Jesus, I imagine myself never betraying the Lord; yet I am a Barabbas. And still the Father does not condemn me or them, He only loves us. I’m no better or worse than they are.
6. a person make a silly moral error, and not pick it up, God opens my eyes to the situational blindness that hampers many of my moments. He shows me how He speaks, and through the Holy Spirit’s direction, I confess and repent the best I can to make things right again. I begin to have compassion on my brother or sister. I pity them perceiving their fault, yet I know it is good for them to know the truth.
7. a troll on social media, and I begin to think how crude and evil the person is, before God shows me how rude my communications have occasionally been. He then shows me again, a fundamental truth, how hurt people hurt people. I can pray especially for the person who cannot see why they should be courteous and respectful. Remember Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
8. my wife’s impatience with me ticks me off, and, if I listen in carefully enough, the Holy Spirit shows me my own coarse dealings with her at times. It’s good to know how she might feel through knowing how I feel. God motivates me to be gentler.
It’s hard living the authentic Christian life when truth lands on the runway of our awareness. But that’s the dependable Voice of our faith counselling us through gentle though firm rebuke. We only grow when we listen with humility.