My morning was full of frustrations. My glasses were rubbing a sore raw on my nose, a construction crew was laying foundation on the empty lot next door ten feet from my office, and my house-cleaner was late. And late. And later.
Finally I called her. “Oh I left a message for you saying I can’t come today but I’ll be there tomorrow. Didn’t you get it?” No blinking light indicated a new message on my phone.
“Hmm.” She thought out loud. “I must have the wrong number for you. That means I left a message on someone else’s machine. I’m so sorry.”
“That’s all right.” My voice sounded way too gracious. “It happens to all of us. Why, just this morning, I got an email from someone saying I misdirected an email.”
With further apologies, she hung up and I penciled her in for the next day, looking at my watch. The morning was almost over and I was none too happy about my unproductive hours.
When my husband and I connected for lunch, he shared his frustrations of the morning then asked about mine. I started in on my list, then opened my mouth to tell him about my no-show house-cleaner.
For some crazy reason, Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount about thinking lustful thoughts is the same as adultery did a straight line slide through my brain. Then I thought about Jesus’ description of the Pharisees – white washed on the outside but dead bones buried within. Jesus cares as much about our inner attitude as our exterior words. I may have fooled some of the people some of the time, but I wasn’t fooling Him.
Wouldn’t I be hypocritical if I graciously let my house-cleaner off the hook then complained about the mix-up to others? I clamped my mouth shut, thanking the Spirit of God for the course correction.
Later that day, after still more frustrations, I grumbled at my husband for something he did that didn’t please me. That ever watchful Spirit that lives within me knocked on the door of my conscience. “You were so quick to let your house-cleaner off the hook – why can’t you do that for your husband?” Ouch. Okay this is getting personal. Do I need to put my steel toed boots on or grind out the grumpies?
The Spirit’s caution was right on track.
If I forgive one, I should forgive the other. If I’m gracious to the offender, it ends there and goes no further.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14.
Lord I really do want to reflect your grace and forgiveness to those around me – no matter who it is. If my words and my heart get out of sync with each other again, will You keep reminding me, please? Thanks. 🙂
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