Life lessons are always hard to learn. I have heard people say ‘learn it the hard or easy way’, but I think most of mine are the hard way. I can’t say I am complaining because I think they stick with me more than when I learn it ‘the easy way’.
My hard lesson that God taught me this week happened yesterday morning.
Mom had set up a new plan for kitchen clean up. Normally all of us kids do the kitchen clean up. We each do our own thing. Usually Becca or I would wash the dishes. Then, as the boys got a little older, they started helping with the dishes. Well, it seemed like who ever was milking that month would end up doing a lot of the dishes. So, Mom decided to give it a little change. Two of us milk each month. We swap around so we can take turns getting a break and whatnot. The plan, then, was that whoever was NOT milking had dish duty. They were responsible for all the dish washing. Ok, now that I have bored you with this little explanation, I can now tell the story.
This is my month for washing dishes. Yesterday was the first day. However, the person who had dish duty in March did not finish cleaning all the dishes. So, when my turn came up, I was going to have to wash all the dishes that this person had left behind.
My reasoning was this person needed to finish the job and not leave things for other people to clean up. Mom decided that, yes, this person needed to finish up the dishes.
I began happily cleaning up the kitchen (putting away food, wiping counters, etc) and then found out that Mom was playing ‘April Fool’s’ on this person that they didn’t need to clean up the dishes(she sent them to do something else, as I found out later on..). Needless to say, I was rather upset. Not because I had to wash the dishes (I don’t mind doing that, really), but because this person who had not finished the job went out of the kitchen happy, leaping, etc, and not caring a whit that I had to clean up after them. I began washing, angry thoughts flooding my mind. How dare they! How could they just walk off without even a look of sympathy, or better yet, an offer of help? It was just terrible! I had to clean up this mess that this other person had left. I now had to do all of the work so that this person could go and have fun.
Then God smacked me with that famous 2x4…… “Sarah,” It said, somewhat sorrowfully, “Have I done any less for you?” I began to realize that Jesus had done SO much more for me. He had cleaned up my mess of sin by hanging on the cross. He died a painful death so that I could go free! Why shouldn’t I do the same for my sibling by washing the dishes they left behind??
However, Satan had other ideas…. Unfortunately, I let him talk me out of it. I didn’t want to be merciful. I wanted to be angry. I didn’t want to forgive. I went so far as to not even talk to my sibling. Not helping this sibling make the breakfast. I was mad at the person, and I was going to show it… I didn’t want to listen to that soft voice. The more I thought about being mad, the softer the voice became until I could barely hear it above my own raging thoughts…
Then I became ashamed of myself. Was this the way to answer God? He was trying to show me how powerful and beautiful His mercy was, yet I wasn’t willing to give it out as well. I wanted to receive God’s mercy, but I wasn’t willing to give mercy to someone else.
It reminded me of the story in the Bible about the one man who owed money to the other man. The first man begged for more time to pay his debts, but the second man was unwilling and threw the poor man in jail until he could pay his debts. Then, the second man had to go to a third man that HE owed money to. The second man begged for more time (he wanted the mercy), but the third man was unwilling. I was in the same situation. I wasn’t willing to be kind toward my sibling.
I had been reading in Isaiah this week. The first part can be kind of sad because God is pouring out His wrath on the people of
, but as you get further into it, you see how God is still merciful. He is willing, wanting to give the people mercy if they would just call on Him and turn from their wicked ways. He wants to welcome them back with OPEN ARMS! Yet the people still didn’t want to go back. They didn’t want to stop worshiping the false gods. They liked doing evil things and didn’t want to turn away from it all. Israel
I used to laugh at them and think, ‘the silly people!! If they would just turn back, all their troubles would be over!’…. and yet, here I was. I didn’t want to listen to God’s gentle, rebuking voice telling me I was wrong. I wanted to continue in my sin. I had to make a decision. Do I continue being angry, or do I let it go and be thankful, instead, that my sibling got to have some free time?
As I was talking with my dear Mother later on, I poured out my heart and told her what had been wrong with me that morning (yes, I was noticeably angry). She shared some advice-painful advice, but good advice. I really don’t like it when she has to tell me the things that I need to change. Yet, I also know that it is good. If she didn’t tell me, I would never know and I would never be able to work on it.
I kind of felt like Eustace in ‘Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ when Aslan is scratching off his scales after he had been turned into a dragon. It hurt Eustace to have them ripped off, but he felt so much better afterwards.
Often times it hurts to be told we are wrong, but we can feel so much better if we turn away from our wrong and sin and run back to our Savior. He will comfort us and heal us in such a wonderful, peaceful way.
After Mom and I had talked for a long time, I sobbingly sought forgiveness, and she gave it to me-willingly. Then, I went outside, sat in my favorite spot on a low wall underneath a tree, and sobbed to God. Have you ever been really cold? You sip some hot cocoa and just feel it’s warmth seeping into your body? When God is forgiving you, He gives you a peace that feels like that-only better. It just creeps all over your body making you feel warm and safe. Almost like God was hugging you right then and there.
So, the lesson God taught me this week was giving mercy. I can tell you that it won’t be easy…. But I now have something to look back to whenever I feel angry thoughts beginning to surface.
What did God teach you this week? I am anxious to hear your thoughts! Oh, and I have to admit that I was not very faithful at reading my Bible every day this week. Please pray that I will do better this coming week.
In Christ’s Service,