“to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging; to be long-suffering, slow to anger, slow to punish.” (Strongs)
Lyrics to a song from my younger years. Lyrics that describe my younger years and by younger I mean all my years.
And while I was searching in all the wrong places and all the wrong people, it was here all along. Ancient words that tell me that true love is not of this world. It is other than. More than. Better than.
I wish I had known. Maybe if I had known that God is the very thing I spent so much of my time and dignity trying to find, I wouldn’t have spent so much. If I had known, things would have been different.
But now I know and it is different. So very. But not enough. It is not enough, because I have been acting like Jesus, or at least trying —
to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging; to be long-suffering, slow to anger, slow to punish.
And acting like Jesus exhausts me because it’s me. Because my strength, patience, and kindness are all feeble and not enough to be what love is. Acting like Jesus requires a lot of me.
Being like Jesus requires heart surgery.
And you know, every cut is always the deepest. God makes no superficial cuts. Deep is what it takes to remove a heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. Deep is where He finds the bitterness, not the bearing, of offenses and injuries, the desire to get even and the flashes of anger we think we’re hiding as we passively punish those around us with our silence or thinly veiled words. The word of God is sharp and when it cuts it exposes the truth. I am not love.
Love was wounded for my transgressions. Love made a way for me to draw near to God, not just to bask in His presence, but to be transformed in it.
“For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” Romans 8:29
Lord, Your cut is deep, but keep cutting. I will continue to act like Jesus, mostly. Because acting like Him is better than not acting like Him. But I will lay here, under Your word…
until what has performed for You has become conformed to You.
*Foreigner – I Want to Know What Love Is. For all those my age, good luck getting it out of your head today. And you’re welcome.