We live in a time when society is deeply divided by the choices we have to make; the fear of “what will happen tomorrow" is rampant and even more people have less hope for better days. Each of us has gone through different traumas throughout our lives, and each has responded to them, in his or her own way.
One person's trial, could be much worse than we could ever imagine, but because they are choosing to be strong, they will not be defeated by their circumstances. On the other hand, for a very sensitive person, their trial might seem much less, but the impact to them, might be much more devastating. What I mean is that, no one has gone through life from one happy moment to another. Even if optimistic people see something good in bad situations, and recover better, they still go through hard times, face discouragement, and even depression. God offers grace for all who trust in Him, to be able to handle hard situations, of which many are beyond our control, or caused by people who do not want to obey the Lord, but choose evil over good and hurt those around them.
Have you ever considered that when someone does not treat us right, it might be because of what they are going through, or because someone else treated them wrong? How often do we find ourselves in situations where we do not treat someone else as we should, because we are frustrated or in pain? We could better tolerate and forgive those who treat us wrong, if we would ask ourselves, what would we do if we were in their shoes, and if we would consider that they might have bigger problems than ours. Sometimes it is enough to remember what we already know about the person's past or current situation, to stop judging them, or even feel sorry for them. We do not even judge ourselves correctly every time, why would we think we can do it when it comes to someone else? Everything related to human nature is relative and subjective. Only God and His Word are the truth. Whatever the Bible teaches us is the standard we must follow.
Our minds store everything that happens to us and sometimes not accurately, because our memories can be influenced by past experiences, physical and emotional state and diet. There are many factors that contribute to our well-being. God created us for love, joy, peace and all that is good. When we live in fear, dissatisfaction, hatred, anxiety, stress and any negative emotions produced by toxic thoughts, our brain reacts by producing harmful chemicals, which lead to all sorts of imbalances that result in pain and sickness. In Romans 12:2, we are urged to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, through the Word of God. This is something we need to do, by replacing the worldly way of thinking with the truth of the Bible, so that we can have healthy, scriptural mindsets that restore our brains and help our systems to function properly.
Even if we cannot control what those around us are doing, we can ask the Lord to help us control our reaction to what we do not like, or what hurts us. I know from personal experience that when I try to think what may be behind the words or deeds of those who hurt me, the feeling of compassion helps me to get over it and forgive them more easily. When we do not forgive, the suffering is even greater and can have long-lasting effects. Any event, thought, image or sound that reminds us of what happened, will reproduce the initial pain and we will re-live what happened, strengthening its memory stored in the subconscious mind.
Jesus gave us the most perfect and useful commandments and counsel. Whatever we do contrary to His words, it costs us.
The better we understand this truth and choose mercy, compassion, and love for those who do us wrong, instead of having negative emotions, the happier and more pleasing to God we can be. When we do the opposite, no one wins and the biggest losers are ourselves. Whoever wronged us may not even know that they did it, while we lost our peace and joy. When we choose to respond with love and do good to those who hate us, we keep our hearts pure, pleasing to the Lord, and we have the greatest chance to change our relationship with those people for the better. Prayer is communication with God and when we tell the Lord what hurts us, and give Him the burden and pain, we release ourselves and make room for peace, forgiveness and "agape" love for others, which is the source of true happiness.
There are countless examples in the Bible that show that love overcomes hatred, good overcomes evil, and when we do what the Holy Spirit leads us to do, we overcome, no matter what we have to go through. Here are just a few of the verses that urge us to choose to do what is right.
When we take the time to pay attention to those around us, we may become a blessing to them, by acting right or saying the proper words. Jesus said that “‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35b). The satisfaction of serving or giving is greater than the joy of receiving. Also, when we give, it means we have something that someone else needs. Giving is not just about money. We can give of our time, warm words, encouragement, affection and whatever the Holy Spirit urges us to give. If we obey the urge to give, even if we do not have much, the Lord will bless and multiply what we have left. In God's economy, we first give, and then we receive. When we serve others, even if it is just a smile or a hug, we turn our attention from our problems to the right solutions for those whom we help. We are created to feel useful and to help each other and this is why wholehearted service is full of satisfaction.
Whenever someone bothers us, especially when we are driving, if we choose to pray to the Lord to help them be better drivers and be more careful, then we calm down more easily and keep our hearts pure. In any circumstance, prayer is the best solution, through which we give what upsets us to the Lord and receive the power to react correctly and not sin. The mission field is everywhere we meet people, we just have to look around and ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we can do for them.
If we want to receive God’s mercy and not what we deserve, then we need to show mercy to others. Let us not be quick to judge other people’s gestures and words, because at times, we might be the ones who triggered it by what we said or did in the first place. When we choose to replace the selfish thought “what about me?” with “what can I do to be a blessing?” our lives can change for the better and we can more enjoy our daily walk with Jesus. When we want to understand what other people go through, our hearts become more sensitive to the needs of others and to what God desires from us. As a result, we can smile more and help more people to find their joy and salvation in Jesus Christ.
Eli Cockrell and Carmen Pușcaș share thoughts about the end times and life as a Christian in the world we live in today.