I had a friend once that was going through some really bad stuff in his life. He was adopted and hated his parents; he snuck out and openly defied them and all together was a troubled kid. That made a very tense situation for his household and his frustrations with them were often conveyed in conversations we had. I would try to help him and give him good advice. Sometimes he would try to make his homelife better but most times he just ended up making things worse. Months went by with this endless cycle of little victories and disastrous falls. At one point he told me his parents were thinking of sending him off to military school. That was my turning point. I was completely fed up. “Well sucks for you,” was pretty much what I said to him. I mean, I spent months on end talking to him and hours trying to get him to change but he wouldn’t take my advice. I grown so tired of being his friend right then and there I wrote him off. “If he wasn’t going to take any of my advice then I’ll just stop talking to him. He takes everything in this relationship for granted. Its just a waste of my time and he will never change” I thought.
This has been a pattern in many of my relationships with friends, family, and people I interact with. If they don’t give me what I need or return what I have given them I cut them out of my life, almost as if they are not even worthy of being in my life. This arrogant, self-righteous life style has been my mantra for years, even after I was saved by Christ. It took a convicting car ride with a friend for God to remove my blinders and reveal who I really am and what I really look like. Jesus knew Judas was going to betray him. (Luke 22:48) He knew exactly what was going to happen and he knew he was going to be the cause of his death. But that didn’t stop him from loving him or investing the word into his soul. Peter denied Jesus three times and indirectly questioned his authority. (Mark 14:29-31, Mark 14:66-72) Not once did Jesus write him off because he knew he was going to hurt him. He still sowed the news of the gospel into his soul, the great news of reconciliation, forgiveness and steadfast love. He had no conditions, no hesitations. He loved. Not because he was loved in return but because His father loved us and sent Him as a sacrifice for us. Jesus knew that. He knew every person who would curse him. He knew he wouldn’t be accepted by his own people. He knew the hearts behind the eyes that watched his every move. But instead of dismissing them, He said, “I love you, and I will still love you after I die. In fact, if you never grow to love me, my steadfast love will never change. And this, these scars, this cross, will be a reminder to all of you the love I have for you. I will never give up. I will always invest.”
I didn’t end up forgiving my friend and carried that hurt with me as a barrier of conditions for everyone else to measure up to. I’ve come to realize that what I thought was me being a good friend wasn’t biblical at all.
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7
The only way for me to walk in humility is to walk in God’s footsteps and remember the cross. I encourage you to keep me accountable and to realize God’s love for your life. God keeps reminding me of who I was and who He is and its earth shattering every time. Pray for me. Arrogance is a deathly poison. With the grace of God, I’ve fought it my whole life. Keep me in your prayers and know that I love you because of God’s love through me. Hope this helps.