Today was another one of those days when I awakened to a sense of regret. Not regret over what I planted in the garden, or skipping the car wash … but rather regret regarding relationships. Let’s be honest – it’s how we handle and mishandle relationships that burdens our souls and sullies the Kingdom’s reputation.
I do believe we’re all gritters – or scruffy looking nerf herders … or whatever … it doesn’t really matter. If today I’m an A-game gritter and you’re the undisputed best scruffy looking nerf herder – is one of us ahead? Or visa versa? Aren’t such differences without real distinction? Don’t they all sound just like James 2:4 – “have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Put in such a way – maybe you’d agree that we’re all on equal footing. But think about … well … you know who. Your one-time friend, your difficult relative, irascible neighbor, cantankerous co-worker, irrational client, clueless boss … . Maybe your wisdom allows you to remain calm, serene and selfless in light of all manner of interpersonal conflicts – but it seems like I gun for trouble too often. I get hung up on right and wrong – and get lost in ideals about “should be”. It’s par for the course for gritters and nerf herders alike to read passages like James 2:4 and think “Aha! God says I’m a judge!” and forget – what a delightful peace it is to bring our precious judgments to God – and DUMP THEM. Not just the judgments – but the bitterness that fuels them. It’s hard to do that with a soul freshly pinched with pain – but it’s not nearly as hard as regret.
Maybe it’s universally human to long for the land of “Should Be” – but we all live Here, in the land of IS. And though it still rarely looks like it on the front end – experientially God proves over and over that the shortest route to the peace I long for is via the way of love. The challenge will be remembering that the next time I’m tempted to exercise some heavy-handed approach – and even more – going back the messes left here and there and adding more love, more forgiveness – in an effort to sow hope into the future. These lessons have enough meat to fuel a 1,000 hours of prayer and contemplation if not 100,000.
Love may seem harder initially … but I have yet to lay awake at night regretting it.