Oh my it's been a while, hasn't it? Well I suppose I could blame it on the busy-ness of Christmas and all that, now couldn't I? I just might do that.
Truthfully I've just been a bit distracted by this overwhelming "I love my husband/I love my life" thing. I won't bore you with the details, but I will say that pretty much every aspect about Christmas has amped up my already unreasonably high twitterpated heart to a level not previously known. The idea of making Christmas traditions for our family that will last for the rest of our lives? I feel a bit faint. Putting up decorations and a tree? Badoom, baddom, badoom (That's my heart beating) Sitting on the couch looking out at the Christmas lights my very handy husband strung with care? I feel almost teary! What the heck is wrong with me??
It's distracting, that's for sure. Ooooh kay! Back on track!!
Today I want to talk about Justification. All you church-y peeps think you know where I'm going with this don't ya? Don't worry, I'll get there. First I have another point to make though.
The Justification I am talking about isn't actually all that awesome. In fact it's a wee bit dangerous.
So this one time, I got into a bit of a fight with a friend. Went something like this:
Friend: "Blah blah blah blah *slightly insensitive comment* blah blah!"
Me: *Silence* (hurt feelings....more silence....upset... more silence... a bit angry!.... even more slience)
So what happened next was I stewed a little in the anger. And then I analyzed the situation. Why would she say something that hurt my feelings? Let's rewind the tape..... yup- it was definitely insensitive. Mmhmm, my feelings are hurt. What a jerk!
Now the mature thing to do would be to tell her my feelings are hurt. That's a great idea! Oh, except I didn't do that. Nope, instead I stewed. I had every right to be mad at her. I was justified in my anger.
You're at Wal-Mart. A very rude woman walks past you and in the process she knocks over your very teeter-y stack of Christmas gifts in your hands. She looks back at you on the floor picking up your things as she hurries away and she gives you a dirty look (I assume she is mad that you were in her way)
Ok.... Now, that was not very nice. I don't expect you to have warm fuzzy thoughts about her, but you do have some options.
1. Be mad for a moment. Maybe even tell your husband about it when you get home so you can get a bit of sympathy for your hard time at Wal-Mart. He understands. It's a jungle in there. Then let it go. Forgive her.
2. Post it on Facebook and wait for all the solidarity you will receive. "That lady needs a chill pill!" "I would have said ____ to her!!" "What a jerk!" Aaahh.. that makes you feel better. They understand. And they're right! You should have run after her screaming. You could have twisted your ankle and completely ruined your chances to be a part of the 3rd Annual Christmas 3 Legged Race in your office. And your chances were so good too, with Betty as your partner. Darn that Wal-Mart woman!!
Sooo... what happened here was an incident that lasted all of 30 seconds has now caused you to be all moody-pants for the rest of your day. Oh, totally worth it though because remember, you were justified in being mad at Wal-Mart lady. Wal-Mart lady is a jerk.
Ok, now one more. This one is my favourite.
A friend of mine once told me a story about an ex-roomate. Said ex-roomate was... not fun to live with. He didn't help out with cleaning the toilets, always left messes in the kitchen and never wanted to play rockband with him. So he gave him the boot (Wouldn't you?) Worst part? He owed my friend money.
So the conversation went something like this:
"Blah blah blah, ex-roomate is sooo lame. Vent-y vent vent. So glad he's moved out now. I bet he won't even pay me that money. Oh man, if he doesn't pay me that money I am totally not returning the excercise ball I borrowed from him. And then I'm not going to call him on his birthday. Aaaand I'm not inviting him to celebrate Bacon Tuesday anymore. Nope. he's just going to have to go without bacon wrapped burgers, steak and cheese bread from now on. And if I ever have kids I probably won't let them call him Uncle Ex-Roomate. Mm mmmm. Nope- no way."
Sooo... you have now run through the next few years of an imaginary senario of him not paying you back? Well that seems productive! Completely awesome use of your brain space.
All I'm trying to say here folks, is that we can too easily hold on to anger because we feel justified in it. You might be right. You might have every reason to be mad, but the question here is what does that anger do for you? The danger here is that it can feel good. Satisfying. We all love to be right! But how does it change your attitude, and therefore your relationships with others? Is it possible that it might even change how you approach a situation? (Especially in cases like the last senario)
Fight the urge to let your go-to reaction be one of contempt for others. I'm not saying you have to pretend that Wa-Mart lady was in a hurry because she just got a phone call that her daughter is in the hospital. Possible? Yes. Also possible that she was just grumpy that day.
Do you need to pretend that there is a completely understandable reason for her insensitivity to forgive her for it? Or can you forgive for the sake for forgiving? Show a little grace?
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God."
Romans 5:1-2 NIV
Now here's a better use of the word! And whaaaa? It's applicable to what I'm talking about?
Justified. Made right. Saved from a life of sin. All because of faith in Jesus Christ. Reward? Grace. Not something that can be earned, but given freely.
Confused? Well honestly, so am I. Mind. Blown.
Jesus extends grace to us in all situations. Every single senario. When we figuratively trample all over Him, we don't knock over His ever so high pile of gifts. He doesn't hold on to hurt feelings or make plans for how He will punish us if we don't do this, or do that. Instead He justifies us. Makes us right in the eyes of God. Promises us a life everlasting.
We are not God. Far from perfect. However as a follower of Jesus Christ I am called to be more like Him. Extending grace to people isn't always easy. My own pride and selfishness get in the way all the time. But it's easier when I look at my example. Easier when I look at the sacrifice He made for me with His death on the cross.