Remember Who You Are

Yesterday I was on my way to a baby shower. When I got there, I parked quickly and ran inside to help set up. About an hour later a neighbor came over and asked if someone had parked in front of their driveway… I thought, “Shoot, maybe I did…” Sure enough, the slanted curbs in the neighborhood and my lack of awareness meant I parked right in front of a woman’s driveway. I felt embarrassed and apologized, but no sooner had a few words come out when another woman (presumably the next door neighbor of the woman whose driveway I blocked) started going off. She was furious with me. Her anger took me completely off guard…

Looking back, her anger should not have necessarily surprised me – but it did make me incredibly thankful and sad. Thankful because God doesn’t give me the wrath I deserve… I really haven’t encountered that much rage in a very long time… However, her anger also made me sad. If that’s the way that she reacts to a stranger, I wonder how much harder she is on those she knows, on herself.

Today at church, the pastor spoke on 1 John 2… In verses 12-14, John reminds us who we are:

I am writing to you, little children,
    because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
    because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
    because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
    because you are strong,
    and the word of God abides in you,
    and you have overcome the evil one.

Yesterday,  I walked away from the angry encounter crying and feeling horrible about the situation – feeling like a victim. But today, I have a different feeling. I think God is revealing to me that although I apologized and didn’t yell back or try to defend myself – I also didn’t actively love the woman. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Our pastor reminded us that Jesus died for the ones that beat Him, forsook Him… whose sins nailed Jesus to the cross. How much more than can we love those who hate us, who yell at us?

I’m not sure what I would say differently now if I could redo the situation yesterday over again, but I would definitely pray as I was walking out the door to move my car. And, I can pray for the woman today. I hope she comes to know how much God loves her. I pray that next time I would know who I am – that I don’t have to fear her. I can listen to her and make her feel heard. I can love my enemies. I can rest in my identity as a rebellious broken sinner, far from God on my own – but now, because of God’s great love, I am a child of God – created to actively love other rebellious broken sinners to the glory of our Heavenly Father.

When you are mindful of who you are- how forgiven you are, how loved you are – His love will flow out of you.

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