Of course, I can’t continue if I am still angry with people from my past. I actually have to begin praying to God to help them find it in their hearts to forgive me, because I am sure that the people I am angry with, along with many others, still hold some grudges against me–even grudges I am completely unaware of.
It isn’t enough just to stop being mad at so-and-so for what they did, I have to find it in my heart to actually experience some of God’s love for them.
I suppose I could start writing down their names, but maybe I can just practice switching to “love mode” every time I start to feel some old resentment. I should be praying to God fervently to be merciful with our nation. While we probably do deserve a Ted Cruz or Donald Trump to be our president, I really hope God has someone else in mind (and hope it’s not Hillary, either). Although, I would probably take Hillary over a lot of the Republican guys.
How do I experience love in my heart for ISIS? I guess maybe I should be praying that God puts more tenderness and mercy into the hearts of those ISIS members who haven’t gone completely over to the dark side.
Really, I should just be praying for Jesus to be among us, and forgive us for being such awful sinners, and to put the light of Love back inside of those of us who are not beyond saving yet. I do think that the power of prayer has kept the world from sliding into complete darkness, and that the disappearance of praying Christians who die due to old age or martyrdom is leaving us vulnerable to another kind of evil collection of dictators.
In my quieter moments of truly desiring to be free of my ego and full of Jesus’ Love, I start to experience in glimpses his tenderness and mercy, his kindness and compassion and forgiveness. Our own hearts and minds are the cracks through which we let his light into the world. The power of the Church was not to be found in the grandeur of Rome or in the staunch rigidity of reformers who were all too happy to burn heretics at the stake as well. The power was in the little people of the world, and it still is.
The praying, faithful souls who never once doubted that Jesus would protect them. These are the little ones who never left His arms. As more of them are called home and they are replaced by younger generations who turn their backs on Him, these little cracks of light are extinguished and not replaced.
For me, it always comes back to the response of my heart. No matter how far away I get from God, when I see or hear something that tears my heart apart, I feel the deep need to renew my relationship with Jesus. I groan inwardly at the horrors taking place in the world. It is a much more profound cry than the many cries of forgiveness for my own sins. Maybe I am not being completely honest with myself, but there are stories of others being harmed that tear me apart more than my own contrition. Perhaps it should be reversed, and I should learn to let my own contrition tear me apart like nothing else, in order to let Jesus in to completely heal me once and for all.
I do believe that more of Jesus is present in those places of the impossible–where all rational and scientific explanations fall short and hope could be extinguished. The wider and larger the chasm of hopelessness, the greater the triumph of the Spirit. So, while the horror and terror pervades a given time and place, it will be met with new faith like spring seedlings after a previously terrible summer of wildfires. Those innocent souls who lost their lives in the melee of it all will find comfort in the arms of the Spirit. He will not forget about them.
This is the beauty and the glory of God. When a Warrior is needed to slay enemies, He provides. When a Savior is needed to bring compassion and mercy to lost people, He provides. When a Comforter is needed for those who are running on their last fumes of hope and faith, He provides.
When I am exhibiting what others perceive to be goodness, I am, of course, not good. They are seeing what little of God’s goodness I’ve permitted to come into my heart and then leave as a gift for others.