Some lessons are just hard to learn. It often seems as if I can never do it right. Sure, you may not see it. From the outside, I look like a fun, loving person who gets along with everyone—even perfect strangers! But on the inside, it’s a different story.
I have my own agenda and selfish motives. How dare you say I’m failing in something I’m really good at?! I chaff under micromanagement or just authority in general that I don’t agree with. I question everything. “Why didn’t you choose me to do that? You know I’m better than she is.” And the thoughts go on and on and on.
Let me tell you, writing these thoughts out is hard and really ugly. I want people to think well of me, to think that I have it all together. I’m strong! I am handling the bumps of life with the right attitude. You need my help, not the other way around.
When these thoughts and horribly critical attitudes come, God has and is hitting me upside the head with three Scriptural truths through my mom, my former pastor, and personal time in my Bible.
1. Love thinks no evil.
When I make assumptions of other peoples’ thoughts and motives, I make a mess of everything. I take every comment, reaction, non-verbal communication, facial expression, etc. and interpret it to what I think the person has against me. “He must be judging me. She thinks I’m a failure and not doing a good job.” I then begin to hurt my relationships with people because I no longer trust them. I distance myself from them. I assume the worst. I live in fear of what they think of me (or what I assume they think of me). It’s so wrong!
Love thinks no evil! Love assumes the best, not the worst! Love is patient and kind. It doesn’t envy. It doesn’t parade itself. LOVE IS NOT ALL ABOUT ME! Isn’t that a novel thought?
When I truly love and think the best of others, it frees me to view other people as God sees them and love them through all the tough words, misunderstandings, and everything else.
Love thinks no evil.
2. I need humility, and a lot of it!
I need humility. Period. (actually, exclamation mark!) The Bible is clear: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. God hates pride. When I view myself as better than others, I am knowingly sinning against my holy God. It literally makes Him sick. Oh God, teach me to be humble!
When I was in high school, one of my camp counselors told me, “It is better to be broken before God than by God.” God doesn’t let His children live in pride and sin forever. He will break us and show us our sin. Either drastically, or gently. And a lot of times, He uses people to reveal our weaknesses and areas for growth. My first reaction is, “How could they think that of me? I’m just ___.” But my reaction should be, “Lord, teach me to be humble. And let me take the criticism as an area You are trying to grow me in.”
3. Aim for the stationary target.
My goal is not to please everyone and their constantly moving objectives, tasks, and targets. People change. Expectations change. God never changes. His target never moves. He has clearly laid out His expectations for me. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 When I aim for the target of pleasing God, I’m hitting the target that truly matters, and one that is attainable every time. God never changes; His target never moves.
Like I said at the beginning, some lessons are just plain hard to learn. But by the grace of God, He is growing me and changing me to look more like Jesus. And He is ever patient with me, remembering my humanity and weakness, and giving me the strength to get back up each time I fall. He is merciful. He is patient. And He is good.
Written by Emilee Nelson. Emilee lives with her family in Castle Rock, CO.
Thanks for reading!