Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Dear God, what do I do about this? You know I have love in my heart. You know I have forgiveness even. I have mercy for how someone is and the lens through which they enter the world. But there is a group of people in various areas of my life where the relationships are broken. And they fall into different categories. Well, maybe they don’t. I’ve told each of them why I’ve done what I’ve done and why I feel the way I do. Some are defensive and don’t want to even consider they’ve done something wrong. Others simply see the situation differently than I do, probably because we are each working from different pieces of information and using what we know as the basis of our viewpoint. For my part, I’m willing (at least I think I am) to hear what I’ve done wrong and have an opportunity to apologize.
So what do I do from here? Where do I go with your peace filling my heart? Maybe I go to hope and the hope you offer me. Our small town does an annual church-to-church walk Christmas service in December, and I’ve been given a speaking assignment at one of the spots this year. I was assigned “Celebrating Hope in Christ.” The three other stops are “Celebrating Peace in Christ,” “Celebrating Love in Christ,” and “Celebrating Joy in Christ.” I received the assignment this morning and it immediately stumped me. Hope in Christ? What do I have to say about that? But maybe this situation lends itself to that hope. I have hope that you will move the world in the direction you want to move it regardless of how wrong or right I am. I have a hope that you will provide for my situation beyond anything I can imagine working. When I think now about Zechariah’s (John the Baptist’s dad) prophecy after he is allowed to speak again, it is all about hope. When I think of Mary’s song, “The Magnificat,” it is layered with tons of hope. Simeon and Anna, at the temple when Jesus was circumcised, had hope. There is a hope that this is all worth it. All of this pain counts. You are using it. You are redeeming it. You are breaking us, melting us, molding us, and filling us. We just have to press into you and worship you, and the hope will start to flow because we will stop looking at our own lives and be only about your will. To quote another song, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of your glory and grace.
Father, thank you for my hope. Thank you for giving me hope through all of this. I trust in you. I believe in you. I love you. I worship you.
In Jesus’s name I pray,