As a Christian and in my spiritual walk, I have a real and tangible relationship with the Creator of the Universe. What an amazing and incredible gift! He is honestly my secret to survival on this planet and I really don’t know how I would cope without Him. Life would feel so dark, lonely, and incomplete.
In this relationship, I know there are certain things I can do that hurt Him and bring separation between us, just like any other relationship I have. Sin is the cause of this separation. Sin can be intentional and just as often unintentional. It feels as though it is impossible to not sin on some level; perfection – in my humanness – impossible to obtain. I thank Him for His gift of grace and forgiveness through Christ, and that perfection is not a requirement for our relationship.
As I walk with Him, and by His strength, I try very hard to not fall into the fleshly temptations of sin:
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. (Galatians 5:19-21)
But I do “fall short of the glory of God” and there are times temptation gets the best of me. The one that tends to blindside me is “enmities”. For me, taking offense falls into this category and is like a sneak attack that comes in the night. Reasons to feel offended find their way inside my mind, and then quickly work their way into my heart.
The struggle to be free of this is that offenses feel like they can be justifiably harbored. However the problem with letting offense fester in the heart is that it opens a door for resentment, unforgiveness, anger and hatred. These feelings then take up residence and truly do separate me from Him.
An example of this would be when I’m driving down the freeway and someone cuts me off to the point where it could have caused an accident – the driver being purposefully reckless without concern for others’ safety. This experience creates the temptation to be offended.
It is very difficult to pause in that moment and think, “I forgive you for almost killing me. Lord please bless that person”. But I think that’s exactly what God wants me to do in those moments and that’s something that would be pleasing to Him. I think that is an element in our working relationship – doing contrary actions that bring me closer to Him, rather than actions that result in a wedge of separation between us.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Written by Megan Stanton, Communications Coordinator.