This week, I will see people the way Jesus sees them, and respond accordingly.
A gun to your head gives you amazing clarity.
“Greater love has no one than this,” Jesus said in John 15:13, “that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Chances are, nobody has ever put a gun to your head and told you to choose between your life and somebody else’s.
But I have been in situations where I had a figurative gun pressed to my head, and I had to choose between my pride, or my dignity, or my sense of accomplishment … and somebody else’s.
I’ve had to decide whether to let somebody off the hook for a stupid mistake, or whether to hold them up to ridicule.
I’ve had to decide whether to slip my arm around somebody who had a moral failure, and love them in spite of that failure, and remember that I’ve had moral failures of my own — or keep them at arm’s length (and just to be sure, spread the story about that person’s failure).
Over and over, we face crises of grace. Again and again, the question is: Do we satisfy our own instincts, or do we let the love of Christ flow through us in that situation, and devote ourselves to looking out for the other person’s needs?
One day Jesus had a gun put to his head. Or more accurately, a nail pointed at each of his wrists. And he had to choose between his life or mine.
What’ll it be, Jesus? Either I drop the hammer and drive these spikes through the narrow part of your forearms — or I can take this person who won’t even be born for another 2,000 years, and torture him for eternity. Choose one.
Jesus looked into the future, and saw me sinning. Maybe he saw me as a kid, sneaking around behind my parents’ back. Maybe he saw me as a young person, engaged in sexual misbehavior. Maybe he saw me shading the truth in this conversation and that conversation, and manipulating situations for my own advantage.
And yet, no matter what he saw of me, Jesus said, Go ahead. Drive the nails. I love that one so much, I’d rather die than lose them.
When I have his love in its proper perspective, and you hurt me, and I have the opportunity to hate you, or love you … I decide to love you. I extend grace, because grace was extended to me. You may not deserve it, but I don’t either. We’re all in this sin-boat together. We all need grace, and there’s nothing we can do to get it. It can only be given as a gift.
I thank God he gave it to me. And the way I thank him is — I give it to you!
My Prayer for the Next Seven Days… Lord, I have so many opportunities to express judgment instead of grace. Please help me to see people the way you see them, and extend grace the way you do. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:12-16
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners —of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.