“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” [John 13].
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” [1 Peter 4:10].
I am going to write from experience now. Sometimes other people peeve me.
Generally, I value people. You might even say I care deeply about people.
But there are certain people I encounter who bother me and I am ashamed to admit that.
Pastor Hybels in his book Holy Discontent writes of common denominators in people who operate with an energy that he says comes from their holy discontent. As in the previous post, they believe in restoration and the main focus of restoration is people. Hybels says “This should make perfect sense, since you can’t genuinely align yourself with God’s priorities and then traipse around destroying the crown of His creation, his people” [Hybels, 27]. God cares deeply about people and He is trying to restore a relationship with them. As His servants, we could have a deep and abiding concern for the protection and development of all God’s people. After all, we are here to be God hands and feet and sometimes we may even utter something that would benefit someone else’s relationship with God.
Back to the people that peeve me.
Humans are fallible. One could even go so far as to say that they will let you down. They behave badly. They say things that are disappointing. Their anger can be unleashed on you and your feelings will be hurt. People can turn their back on you, showing very little compassion for your situation. Some can be so self-centered that the whole world revolves around them.
This can lead to us finding fault in others.
What can we do about this other than gripe and complain about others. That is not the holy discontent that Hybels is writing about. That frustration will lead to a well-meaning Christian doing more harm than good.
He says we need to remember that all people are “in process.”
“If God has His way, every last one of [His people] will be restored, redeemed, remade for His eternal glory” [Hybels, 28]. We need to consider that people who peeve us are just people who are on their way, and where they are right now may not be where they are later. If we can just get past the aspects of their behavior that bother us and acknowledge the inner person that can emerge with our help, we can serve more people than we think we can.
If we are walking with Christ, we have experienced the freedom from things that have enslaved us. Our work can be helping others to see that this freedom is available for them. “You get to be an agent of freedom in the lives of other people.”
People are enslaved to so many things today: emotional bondage, financial bondage, sexual bondage and the list goes on and on. They don’t see that the jail cell they reside in has a key that is very handy. The key that will release them is the truth of a relationship with Jesus Christ. John 8: 32 says it best: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” People can be freed from anything that has them tangled up.
Maybe I need to acknowledge I am a slave to the negative perceptions that I get when I am around certain people. Maybe I need to pray for God to release me from these thoughts which hamper my ability to be a servant to certain types of people. As I write about others who are enslaved, maybe I am enslaved also.
Lord, I ask that you create in me a compassion for the difficult people I encounter in my life, so together we can affect positive change in their lives. Help me to be a servant to as many people as I can, realizing that we are all “in process’. Help me to monitor my judgmental thoughts so I can be Your servant.