by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
One thing we know, hurting people hurt people. Pain and offense are spreading like a virus. It seems nearly everyone is mad about something or someone. Whether it be feelings hurt by spouses and families or offenses taken in church or with co-workers, hurt and offense has become a way of life in this country. What is everybody’s problem?!
There’s a story in Luke 9 where the Apostle John and his brother got offended when a village didn’t welcome Jesus. In response to the rejection, the brothers asked Jesus if they could petition God to fire-bomb the town! Yep, Jesus’ proteges wanted God to rain down Holy Molotov Cocktails on innocent women and children. Undoubtedly an epic ministry fail. Yet Jesus did not fire them or cast demons out of them. He also didn’t go sit alone and cry about the rejection of the village or the hatred in his disciple’s hearts. You see, Jesus knew something they didn’t know. He knew love because He knew the Father.
We have a country where the majority of our people claim a belief in God. But do they “know” Him? I know of our President. I believe he exists. I read about him and see him on TV, but I don’t know him. If I spent time with him and knew his heart on issues, it might change the way I feel about him and his policies. Without knowing his heart, I am left to make my own opinions and conclusions based on insufficient evidence.
The religious elite of Jesus day thought they knew God, and they were looking for the Messiah. Yet in all their studies, they did not know the heart of God. That’s why they didn’t recognize Jesus as God and crucified Him. Jesus’ disciples thought they knew God, but until Jesus died to usher in their ability to commune with God as Father in a relationship, they just knew of Him. Things changed for them after the cross.
How do I know that? Because the same Apostle who wanted to rain down fire from heaven on people went on to become known as “The Apostle of Love.” He wrote in 1 John 4 that God is love, and if you “know” Him, you will learn to love others. Regardless of how they treat you. So if you have problems with people, it could mean you don’t know God as well as you think you do. Maybe you know him like I know the President.
I’m not saying you are not saved or not going to heaven. Heaven will be packed with people whose religion was a mile wide and only about a centimeter deep. But it may mean you have never learned His heart, and you are missing the best part of being a believer. And if you haven’t learned His heart, that’s what’s stealing your happy. You see, my friend, the people who are ruffling your feathers aren’t your problem, they are your mission field.
This country holds to a self-serving gospel. Most people accept Christ because they want to “gain Heaven and miss Hell.” If that’s why you are a Christian you have a self-centered gospel that’s all about you instead of a gospel that is radically transforming the way you think, feel, and treat others. If that isn’t happening in your life, do yourself a favor and get to know the Father. He’s so much better, and way more fun than you ever imagined. And He longs to spend time with you because He loves you. If you do that, I promise you will stop having a problem with people, and you will become part of the solution.