God is moving in my life, He is allowing me to be broken over other people...This is a situation I experienced last week that I feel led to share with you all.
I was just at the gas station, & there was a homeless man/woman (couldn't tell) in front of me checking out buying beer and cigarettes. She/he was covered in dirt from their head to their toes and smelled like they hadn't bathed in about 6 months. When he/she walked out, the cashier and man in front of me started talking horrible about her/him. Saying that she/he needed to be dunked in bleach and some febreeze was needed ASAP. A year ago, I would've agreed with them but today. I felt like they were talking that way about Jesus, because He died for that homeless person's sins too. The guy in front of me made the comment, "I don't know how people let themselves go like that"...That rocked me. He doesn't know that person's story. He doesn't know how they got into the situation that they are in. It might have been bad choices or it might have been something out of their control. I wanted to say something, anything...But I couldn't speak up... I wanted to step up and defend the homeless man/woman but I my words got caught in my throat as my heart broke for those people too. All I can think now, is that what people said about me before Jesus was in my life? "How did she let herself go like that?" "What was she thinking?!"”
As I have let this experience sink in over the last few days, I can’t help but be grateful that I was broken over those people. That means that my heart is changing and God is molding it to look more like His. While I am overjoyed that God is slowly opening my eyes to the beauty in people, it does not come without conviction. I was so willing to step in on that homeless person’s behalf but am I just as willing to come to the defense of Jesus when people bash His name? Do I show grace to those that need it in my life or am I just too focused on what they aren’t doing right?
For me, sometimes (most times) it is easier for me to love and show grace to strangers than to those closest to me. I can feel for a homeless person having their character drug through the mud but when it comes to the people I know, I get all out of sorts when they aren’t living their lives to my standards. What if Jesus held me to the same standards that I so often hold the people I care about to? Ouch.
Grace. No one is exempt from it; Jesus offers it freely to all who ask. My prayer is that my first reactions become grace and love instead of judgment and separation. Everyone needs grace and wants to be loved. Thankfully we are blessed to have both when we choose Jesus.
I want to stop judging people for the way they look and they way they act. I want to know people by their hearts, their stories, and the things that have shaped them into the person that they are. I want to love the good, bad, and ugly of people all the time and not just when I think they deserve it. God doesn’t withhold His love for me, even on my darkest days, so what right to I have choose when I show love and when I don’t.
This world needs Jesus, badly. & I want to show them what God's grace looks like. What real love looks like, no more being neutral, it’s time to speak up and its time step up to be the woman God needs me to be. Join me?
“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” -Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.