It has been way too long since I have blogged. There are so many times throughout the day when I think to myself: I should totally blog about that. But I never find the time to do so. This morning I woke up at 3:30am for the second time this week absolutely wide awake for no reason. When this happens I have learned to recognize that it is God drawing me to spend time with Him.
I hate to admit it, but often I choose to roll over and try and go back to sleep rather than get up and fellowship with Him. This results in tossing and turning and very uncomfortable fits of sleep for the rest of the morning and I get up feeling totally disgruntled.
These last two times He has woken me up, however, I have been excited to get up and be with the Lord. The Holy Spirit has been so active in my life that I just can’t wait to get filled up and hear what is on the Lord’s heart so I can pray for it. I am seeing people growing in their relationship with the Lord and overcoming difficulties in their lives, and recently I have had the privilege of introducing two people to Jesus for their first time ever. Nothing gets me more excited than to see people meet the man/God that I love so much and that has loved me and transformed me in a way that no one else in this world could. I know when someone opens the door to Jesus’ love and transformation, they will never again be the same. Life will forever be changed, because that is what the love of God does. It changes us. It takes every pain and heals it. It delivers us from every accusing thought of the enemy. It fills us. It makes us invincible. There is no fear of death, no fear of man, no fear even of our own selves and our imperfections in His love. Everything is made perfect in His love. The most broken lives get restored into the most beautiful vessels to carry His love to the ends of the earth.
Here is a verse I have been pondering quite frequently lately and find myself quoting often to my family and friends.
“Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?“ Romans 2:4
As I look at the verse in context it is actually talking about walking in judgment toward others. The portion I am constantly quoting is “God’s kindness leads us to repentance.” Nowhere in Scripture does it say that judging others will lead them into a relationship with God. Quite the opposite, verse 1 of Romans 2 says this: “Therefore you have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another.” There is no excuse to walk in judgment towards one another. Judgment in the church has completely annihilated the church’s ability to touch lives and see salvation.
The whole reason we exist is to share the Good News of Christ! What kind of good news are we bringing when we judge other people and condemn them for what they do? Let the Spirit of God convict people of their sin. That’s His job, not ours. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need people every day pointing out my sin. I already know the messes in my life. I need to know there is a way out. I need to know there is hope. I need to know that I am still loved no matter how many times I mess it up. And knowing that then frees me to receive the help that I need to get out of my mess! To repent and change!
If we want to see the Kingdom of Heaven fill the earth and we want to see lives radically changed, then we MUST walk in kindness and radical love and eradicate ALL judgment from our lives. We know the judgment of God IS coming. His desire is that all men and women will be spared from that Judgement. Our desire should be that too. We don’t want people “getting what they deserve.” If that were true, we ourselves would be in hell! That is the whole reason God sent Jesus. “For God SO LOVED the world that He sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Here is a good illustration of how the kindness of God works to bring us to a place of repentance and change: The other day in the car my kids were all begging me to go to Taco Bell for happy hour and get them slushies. I am trying to be good to our budget and save for some household needs, so of course my answer was “Not today, unless you want to pay for it yourself.”
My oldest, Sydnie, had five dollars and decided to pay for her own Slushy. One by one they all decided they would pay a dollar for their own slushy. Two of them didn’t have their money with them and all kinds of fighting and arguing ensued. I didn’t have cash and didn’t want to use my bank card, so I sat there and let them figure it out. “It’s not fair!” and other accusations filled the air. Sydnie quieted everyone down, “Listen guys, I will pay for all of you. Don’t worry about it. You don’t even need to pay me back.” The reaction she received because of her kindness was laughable. All the kids were arguing beforehand selfishly trying to figure out the best way to handle the situation and make it work out to their benefit. As soon as she offered to pay, they all felt so convicted of their own selfishness, that they actually were all mad at her for being so nice. They all refused to take her money.
Eventually, they worked it out, and all got Slushies and paid Sydnie back when they got home. The whole environment of the car changed after that. Kindness convicts a heart so much more effectively than judgment. Sydnie’s kindness changed her siblings attitudes. Everyone went from fighting for themselves to looking out for each other. Kindness evokes change. And the true definition of repentance is change. Lives change because of the kindness of God. It is time for us to start looking for more ways to release the Kindness of God into the lives of the people surrounding us, and stop looking at it as wimpy. Kindness is one of the most powerful tools the Lord has given us to love on people. It’s time we start using it!
Photo credits: “Wake Up on Sign Means Awake and Rise” by Miles Stuart