So I told God that I was ready to listen to Him, but really not excited about what He wanted to say. Not really. You see, this person hurts me. He has, he did, and he does. I didn't really want to get over it. I wanted God to smack him one.
(I have this firm belief that I ought to be honest with God, even when it ain't pretty. You see, He sees it anyway, and I've discovered that He still loves me anyway. So, I've mostly stopped trying to be so perfect when I talk to God)
But I kept wondering about that... why am I ok with people we minister to not being perfect, but expect people who lead us to be perfect?
I just left this thought to sit in my head while I went about my day, but then in the afternoon, I drove to work. I have about a half hour drive to work, and it is usually when God talks to me the most. It has become our time. We drive and talk.
I got in the car, and as I got on the main road, I said, "Ok, God, I'm listening."
So I said, "well, he just bugs me. He is always doing things, and you know what he has said ..."
So I said, "Ok what?"
Child, do you know that I love him?
Yes, I know that, but....
Don't I have a right to be totally delighted in my child, even if he is not perfect? I am delighted in you, and you ain't.
Do you know that I smile down at him and say over him, "This is my son. I am pleased with him."
oh, God, do we have to go there?
Do you know that?
Do you accept that I have the right to love him, to be delighted in him, to be completely pleased with him?
I took a deep breath and drove silently for a few minutes. I looked up at God in one last attempt, "but I can't love this guy - he sets my teeth on edge."
Don't worry about that right now. Just accept that I have the right to love him and be delighted in him, to say over him, "this is my child whom I love."
Another long pause.
Ok. Ok, I accept that You have the right to love this person. That you are delighted with him and he is Your chosen child. I accept that.
But, God, don't tell me I have to love him too. I just can't do that.
I won't. Not now. Just accept that I do.
I accept that.
Then I got to work. It took me half an hour just to get through that discussion. We talk slowly, thinking things through.
On the way home, I picked up the talk, "But God, I know You are going to try to make me love this guy, and I can't. I can't. Every time I think about him, it hurts. I can't."
I'm not going to force you. Just accept that I love him.
Ok, but, how about this? How about if I let You make me love him, but I don't have to like him. How's that?
(We do always say that is ok, right? We have to love everyone, but we don't have to like them.)
Is that ok? Please?
Child, show Me where I said that was fine...
My brain did a New Testament survey in thirty seconds..... flip, flip, flip, flip...
Got it! Paul and Barnabas!! They didn't get along. They even went separate ways because of it.
Ok, they didn't get along.. but did I say that was ok?
umm... umm... it doesn't say. It doesn't say either way...
Or was that just another example of Me using good people who have some messes and aren't perfect?
Ok, I give up.
But you know what? Earlier in the week, God had talked to me about holding grudges, and I carefully assured Him that I wasn't. I really wasn't. I could cope with this. Sure, don't like the guy, but I'm not holding a grudge - just he is a difficult person, that is all.
It took God all of one situation to show me what He already knew! And I struggled. I told Him I had no idea how to put this one down. I couldn't do it.
He didn't force me to. He didn't make me practice loving him. He just told me to accept that He loves him.
I'll let you in on a secret about me. I am an extremely loyal person. It is just who I am. There are people I love deeply, and I am loyal to them. If someone says something about them, I'll go on the defensive. Touch them, and watch out! The flip side is there, too. If someone I love cares about someone else, then I will also care about them. I saw this once in a situation in Bible school. My roommate deeply cared about "person A". Person A really offended me and hurt my feelings. I could not retaliate at all. I did not hold it against her. Instead I said to myself, "she is deeply loved by my room mate who respects her and says she is like this... I don't see it.. but..." I ate the hurt. I chose to align myself with my room mate's feelings because of loyalty to my room mate. I still keep the relationship to Person A free from accusation of hurt simply because of that loyalty to my room mate.
I'm a loyal person.
Part of my problems with this person is that he has hurt me. Part of it is that he has spoken against someone I am pretty loyal to. That is hard for me to deal with. I just didn't see how I could put down a grudge.
But, the same loyalty that helped get me into trouble helped me get out. Because I can accept that God loves this man. That He is delighted with him.
And I naturally, without force, chose to align myself with One I am loyal to. Once I accepted that.
Being known. It is a relief. There wass no use pretending things were fine. God knew. There is no shame in dealing with it with Him. Doesn't affect our relationship one bit. He already knows what is in my heart. There is a total delight in being known so well.
I'm safe because I'm known. Completely known and completely loved. Nothing to hide. Imperfect, and yet loved. I'm safe here, relaxed, and happy.
Driving - still my favorite time to talk to God. Maybe because He knows He's got me without distractions or escape for awhile! :)