Why is it so hard to live by the truth of Your words in Hebrews 12, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy?”
I know that in this stiff-necked, hard-hearted fleshly body of mine I am weak. As much as I want to love all people, I admit I don’t always feel it in my heart. When I see things that I know aren’t pleasing to You…when I hear things that I know make You sad…when I just can’t stand it anymore, I pick up the stone of judgment and hurl words that aim to hurt. But I know I’ve hurt myself, too. Because I know that what’s in my own heart right now isn’t pleasing to You. I know I’ve made You sad. And the only way I know to make it right is to tell You….Sweet Jesus, I’m so very sorry.
When the scribes and Pharisees brought the woman to You caught in the act of adultery, You stooped down and wrote on the ground with Your finger. I wonder how many minutes went by before You spoke…quiet, calm, waiting…”The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”
I so want to know what You wrote in the dirt, but You didn’t tell us. I’m pretty sure You wrote words of truth from the pages of Scripture. I only know it was enough to convict the accusers. They dropped their stones and walked away, leaving You alone with the woman who nearly died because she made a choice that made You sad. She allowed her weak and imperfect self to lead her into sin yet she stood before You, looking into eyes filled with the love and compassion of a merciful Father and heard You say, “Woman, where are Your accusers? Has no one condemned You? Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
When sin gets the best of me I feel like something in me dies. You remind me I am a sinner, too. Weak. Imperfect. Flawed. Forgiven. Free. You encourage me, too…”Go, and sin no more.”
Oh, God…You are forever writing words in the dirt of my heart…telling me to guard it because it’s the wellspring of life. You’re forever reminding me that You want to write love and faithfulness on the tablet of my heart. You’re forever speaking peace over me in the midst of conflict, convicting me when I stand alone with You, cleansing me and washing me in the power of Your mighty love that covers a multitude of wrongs. You’re forever forgiving me, loving me, bringing me back to life.
So, Lord…show me how to make every effort to live in peace with those in my path who are difficult to reason with, difficult to understand. Show me how to make every effort to live in peace with all people because I wear Your name. You’ve written Your seal on my heart. I want to bear a heart that reflects Your compassion and kindness and above all….Your love. I want to learn how to speak Your truth in love, not anger. I want to be holy as You are holy. I don’t ever want to be part of a stoning ever again…