The Scriptures remind us of God’s laws and of our own struggle to be the Body of Christ.
First of all, God gave us laws as an incubator to keep us from wreaking havoc on ourselves and others. Other than a few mountain men and some hermits, most of us need society for practical reasons. But living together comes with its own set of challenges and the laws were made to help us survive until we become spiritually mature enough to at least treat each other as we would like to be treated. But it takes a close relationship with God for the grace to grow beyond trade-offs into loving one another as God loved us in Jesus. We all fall short of loving like Jesus. Psalm19 says, “Who can detect their own errors? Clear me from hidden faults…..Let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be acceptable to you O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
What irritates you most in other people? Notice during the next week, when you react to someone negatively. It often has some connection with something we don’t recognize in ourselves. I’m a theory person, an idea person, who like Mr. Magoo goes through life not noticing the concrete world around me. I was not practical or very competent at many of the things I needed to do as a wife, homemaker, and mother. My fourth child called me from college and asked why I never told him that clothes weren’t supposed to be wrinkled. Does that give you a clue? But, wanting, like the psalmist, to recognize my hidden faults, I worked with a Spiritual Director when I was in my mid-forties. After some inner work, I began to suspect that when I felt inadequate around practical people, I used sarcasm to “cut those people down to my size.” Since I had always considered myself a very kind person, everything in me resisted admitting this. After a rather painful session with my Director, I went to visit my mother who had Alzheimer’s and was now in a nursing home. She was comatose by then, so I mostly just sat and held her hand. That day as I did this, in my mind I was telling God that I really didn’t think I was that mean. Mom had a new roommate, who in the couple of weeks she had been there, also seemed comatose, never responding to me or the nurses when I was there. But at that moment, she raised up on her elbow looking directly at me and said very clearly, “You aren’t who you thought you were, are you.” As my jaw dropped in amazement, she lay back down and in the next few weeks before she died, never said another word in my presence.
If you decide to pray with the psalmist, “Clear me of my hidden faults…Let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord,” be prepared for Him to do it. Being the Body of Christ is not for the faint hearted, but if you are reading this He has called you. So, let us respond together, “Here I am, Lord. I fall short of your glory, but I am yours.”