A year or two back, we had this woman come up to the door of our house. She had a notepad, a three ring binder, and a pitch. She had obviously been walking door to door. The general idea was that a certain non-profit was supplying fresh local produce to the underserved communities in the area. The business plan made sense and I was also aware of the great needs of our town in that regard. The way the model worked was by buying produce in bulk. There were three levels of “giving” and the BIG observation for me was the notepad she had that was full of signatures from my neighbors (several of whose names I recognized). I visited with the woman, listening to her story and even got to share about my podcast. It was a lengthy exchange. I bought a package and shared some final words of encouragement before she left.
The following day, there was a post on a local neighborhood app that was alerting folks about this scam. My heart sank as I saw the name and a screenshot of the ‘company’s website’. I had been taken advantage of. My immediate response was embarrassment, but after I called and had the payment cancelled I remember talking to my husband and saying, with all my heart… You know? I would have given her the money. If I had known that she was struggling.. If she had been honest and genuine.. I would have given her that money. It made me sad. She had obviously been working with others who had dropped her and her companion on our street. The need was evident. And it just made me so so sad.
But what if… What if Jesus had hardened His heart? What if, after all the mocking, the ridicule, the rejection… what if after all that He endured, He turned and walked away. Because of a hard heart. You know He had every opportunity. (If you need a reminder, just go back and listen to episode number 26 on Rejection)!
You’ve got to step out of yourself and treat that person the way God himself would treat you. With kindness, compassion… and with grace. I’m not going to sugar coat it, its anything but natural. Truly, it is dying to yourself. Dying to the old man. You, as a Child of God and a co-heir with Jesus are made NEW. The price was paid for you. For your sin. For your shame, your mistakes, your failures and all of your iniquities. They were paid for with the blood of Jesus. You are redeemed and made a new man. That new man must then begin to respond according to the SPIRIT of God residing inside rather than responding with the mind or feelings of the old man. This is the act of sanctification. This is a part of the steady transformation to become more like Christ. To bring Heaven to Earth. To make Earth as it is in Heaven!
And I will end with this: because I think it’s a beautiful promise that God attaches, not only to wisdom, but also to acting according to His word: Proverbs 19:11 It means you, in your born again life, are able to display a bright and pure piece of God’s glory. He is made known in the situation… He is made known and that blesses whoever witnesses AND it blesses whoever acted in obedience to His word. Now that is a heck of a promise. Today, I just want to share this encouragement with each of you. Don’t allow the enemy to come in and make you bitter. Don’t allow the enemy to plant seeds of offense. Instead, live out the most shocking and unexpected truths. Love them. Pray for them. And watch, as God transforms your heart and your life because you chose to Honor HIM above your own feelings. When a hard heart is softened, God is able to come in and heal. And the fruit of that will reach far beyond you. I love y’all. I hope this message finds you right where you are today. God will be in it. He’ll work through you and change the lives of all who see..