Reading the Bible helps me put life in perspective. It also shows me how out of focus life becomes when I try to do things on my own.
I’ve noticed how easy it is to let the behaviors of others affect me. After all, when someone is rude to you or ignores you, getting your feelings hurt is a natural reaction, leaving behind the kind of pain that lingers for far too long.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who overthinks situations like these, trying to figure out what I did or didn’t do as I try to think of a way to make it all better. After all, I have this idea in my mind about how I want life to be, and when it doesn’t go the way I want, I try to figure out how to fix it.
My end goal is to get what I want which sounds selfish when I say it out loud, but it’s the truth. I know what I want all my relationships to look like, and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make it happen for me.
Yes, I want it for others too because I can see how their lives would be better, and I also see how easy it would be to make it happen. This frustrates me, but as much as I care about others, I can’t deny that I also want it very much for myself. And that’s when I find myself in this cycle of agonizing pain as I try to figure out why things are the way they are, as I try to find the formula guaranteed to fix it all and turn the relationships of my dreams into reality.
No matter how much I try to figure it all out on my own, I simply cannot change a thing. In fact, I’m pretty sure I make things worse when I allow myself to try to control my life.
Then something happens when I spend time in the Word. It doesn’t take long before I feel my eyes shift away from myself and toward the Lord. It also doesn’t take long before I see others in a new light, putting their needs above my own. Almost without me knowing it, that pain which was crushing me turns into the peace only Jesus can give.
I read in the Bible where He tells me that what I really need is Him. Then I read that He loves me so much that He’s willing to give me everything else too.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”Matthew 6:33
As I spend time with Jesus, spend time learning about how much He loves me, I can’t help but see how He treats others, quickly showing me what true love looks like.
And that’s when I feel everything inside of me move away from my selfish desires. My heart softens as I allow love for others to become more important than my own feelings.
I find that, no matter how I’m treated, I’m now able to love the way Jesus shows me in the Bible. I see how He loved others and treated others, how he loves and treats me. I’ve figured out that all I need to do is follow his example.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”Ephesians 4:32
God has clearly shown me how I’m supposed to act, but He doesn’t leave me alone, doesn’t expect me to do it all on my own. Because I can’t.
I find myself constantly circling back, fighting the same battle as those familiar feelings come over me when I get hurt all over again. After all, the behavior of others hasn’t changed just because I’ve spent time reading my Bible.
I’d like to say that once I spend time in the Word the behavior of others no longer bothers me, but this is a process for me. Even when I’m made aware of the pain of others, I still struggle to keep myself out of the equation.
As I open my Bible time and time again, allowing my perspective to shift, I get a much-needed reminder about what’s really important. I find that I’m able to see people differently after I’ve spent time with Jesus.
As I’m made aware of their pain, pain that was hidden from me when my focus was only on myself, I find that it’s hard to wallow in my hurt feelings.
Isn’t it amazing how God has so graciously laid this all out for us in the Bible? I tend to have such a narrow focus which is gently broadened for me as I get to know His character, as I see others the way He sees them.
You see, He tells me to turn my eyes toward Him, to allow myself to slow down and simply spend time with Him, to look to Him for all the love I long for. That’s what it’s all about. I want to be loved. We all do. After Jesus shows me how much He loves me, He then tells me how to take all that love He has given to me and give it away to others.
Do you know what I’ve figured out?
If I’m spending time with Jesus, if I’m loving others the way He loves them, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for me to rehash how I’ve been mistreated. It’s more than that though. I find when I love others the way God has shown me to, as I’m given insight into why they act the way they do, why they do the hurtful things they do, I find that I want to love them in spite of their actions. This is something I just cannot do on my own.
As a Christian, Jesus is my example. He has felt everything I’m feeling and more. He’s not asking me to do anything that is unreasonable. No, He is asking me to do what He knows will bring me peace. His love for me truly is overwhelming.
I try to think about the pain Jesus felt as He was crucified, but I can’t grasp it. I try to imagine how He felt as He listened to all those people who mocked Him. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for Him as He watched as those He loved left Him, walked away, leaving Him alone in His pain.
I think about how I react when my feelings get hurt, how I act when someone has ignored me or made me feel somehow less than. I’m not proud of how I allow my feelings to take over, blinding me to everything except my own selfish desires, but I feel so very alone when I’m treated this way.
I’m never alone though. And there’s no need for me to act like I am.
Jesus didn’t act like me. No, not at all. His reaction was to ask His Father to forgive them.
Because He loved them.
He loved them more than anything.
This is what He wants for me too. He knows this kind of selfless love will do more than benefit those who hurt me. It’s what I need too.
Jesus tells me in Luke 6:31 how to treat others when He tells me “…as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
Could it be that simple?
Not only is it simple, but by opening the pages of my Bible I’m clearly shown how to make this all happen. It’s as easy as loving others the way He loves me.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”John 15:12