“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” 2 Corinthians 13:5
Okay, so this may be a challenging (difficult, even? ;) ) pill to swallow..
Here it is. Brutal honesty.
I can be difficult. You can be difficult. We may be the difficult person in someone else’s life. I am willing to guarantee that there is at least one person in this world who doesn’t like you.
It hurts, doesn’t it? But sadly, we are just as human as the next person. This is an uncomfortable, but nonetheless legitimate, reality.
To think that we are always the right ones, the good ones, the reasonable ones, would be nonsense (not to mention blasphemous).
So let’s look for a moment honestly at the fact that we can be difficult. When the Lord said “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), He was talking about us. We mess up, we fall short.
And there are also times when we can be misunderstood, or our personality could rub someone else the wrong way.
God tells us to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5). We should be checking out:
- our words (and the way we say them)
- our actions
- our attitudes
- even our facial expressions
- and finally our motivations.
I have a few friends who love me enough to be totally honest with me, and whom I love and trust enough to receive from. They tell me when they think I’m being off base, if they think I’m doing something sinfully, or when I’ve offended them. It hurts when they rebuke me or say things about me that aren’t glowing, but it’s a good hurt. It means there’s a blind spot in my life, and they are kind enough to point it out to me.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6
If we are willing to let God deal with the difficult in us, we have to humble ourself to receive rebuke at times, to be called out on our junk, and to go to the Lord in prayer with an open heart to see if what was said is true. If it is, then we need to be willing to allow God to change us and to take steps toward that.
This is a tough challenge, because these attributes don’t come naturally. Naturally, we want to stand up and defend ourselves, and prove ourselves to be the right ones, the good ones.
But that is not Christlike. And if our goal is to be like Him, then we need to humble ourselves and receive correction when necessary. That is the supernatural working itself out in our lives through a beautiful process of sanctification. We sometimes first have to go through mortification, lots of pain and discomfort and brokenness, to reach that place. We are still sinners and will be until the day we die, so it is not a quest to be made totally perfect today, but rather a journey with the Lord to become more and more like Him and to trust that He will complete the work He has began in us.
If you are willing to face the mirror and really admit that what you see there that isn’t all exactly perfect, you are on the right track. And God’s heart is blessed by your willingness. He is pleased with you and loves you just the way you are.
But He, the Master Potter, sees you as the completed, beautiful masterpiece that you can and will be as you allow Him to work out the rough spots in your life. Will we each let Him? I hope so!
I pray that I will be willing and humble to receive any discipline and correction that He may want to use to beautify my life. And I pray the same for each one of you.