Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Upon each new discovery or revelation in my life the enlightenment allows me a new way of living. In most cases, this new way of living is better than the old way I was following. Each of us gains new insights, experiences God in fresh and new ways, and hopefully grows emotionally and spiritually in some way.
One thing I notice at each point of growth and enlightenment, I am not very patient with those who are not where I am. I either take an attitude of “…why don’t you know this?” or …”why aren’t you listening to me?” I will find myself feeling levels of intolerance and frustration that my “enlightenment” has not spread.
When I became a Christian and began a deep study of the scriptures, going to classes, attending Bible studies, and gaining knowledge; I became intolerant of those who would not see “the light” with me. Not only would that be frustrating, but I would also talk too much about “my” “enlightenment” and would drive them away from me.
Over my last few years of my transformational journey toward knowing, following, listening, and understanding God deeper in my life…I have at times developed the same pattern. I have done some deep work in my life and at times cannot fathom why others would not do the same. The same impatience, frustration, and intolerance begins to surface for me.
I think there are two main reasons I feel this way when they are not where I am. One, I am excited about the revelation I have received and I want others to experience this alongside me. When that excitement is not shared, I feel hurt and insignificant. Secondly, I follow the human tendency to compare myself with others in order to feel good about whom I am. Both are rooted in good intentions. I want to connect with people and my mission is to help people see their God-given goodness. So, when I find something new and helpful, I want to share and help others. When I compare, the intent is to get better, not look down upon. However, many times these two intents become out of balance.
Some things I need to remember while I am journeying:
· First, I need to remember we are all on a journey and we are going at the pace that God set in motion. Each person will grow according to God’s plan and the person’s willingness to grow.
· Second, not everyone is ready and/or willing to make a next step in their journey. Rushing this creates animosity.
· Third, I need to compare only myself with myself (Galatians 6:3-5). When I compare myself with others I get a false sense of where I am in my journey. I need to look only where I have been and where I am going.
· Fourth, it’s not a reflection on me that what I offer is not accepted. My offer not being accepted is not about me, it’s about where they are in their journeys.
· Fifth, just because I feel I have advanced does not mean that life is not working for those who have not chosen the same path.
· Finally, our paths may end up going two opposite directions. This is a sad reality. The relationships I build today may not exist in the future. Most of the time this divide occurred due to the lack of frequency in the relationship set up by the different directions of the paths. This doesn’t mean something bad has happened; just two different paths.
The number one thing for me to remember, that my reactions and actions toward those who are not where I am is up to me. If I recognize where I am and how I am reacting to others, then I am in control of my emotions surrounding the scenario. Like the referenced passage says: “…as far as it depends on you (me), live at peace with everyone.”
1. What do you do or how do you react to those who are not where you are on the journey?
2. What is it about them that seems frustrating to you?
3. Which good intent is your motivation and when not checked becomes a source of frustration?
4. What are some ways you will handle this issue for you in the future?
5. Think about and describe a relationship that you have lost due to the different paths you and the other has taken.
6. Think about a recent relationship where you have been frustrated about the difference in paths. Ask God to allow you to unlock your grace for the other person as well as yourself. Pay attention to what happens next.
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