I can be stubborn sometimes; I think most of us can. I really wish that I could learn of something in Godís word and just do it. Sadly, He usually has to teach me His word in an object lesson I rarely forget. I was reminded of one of those lessons today.
I work in a mechanics shop with mostly unsaved coworkers. Sometimes the atmosphere gets pretty worldly but I know as a believer, I am supposed to be a light in dark places. Also, the last time I checked, the responsibility for conviction of sin still rests solely with God. I used to forget that too. That is, until I spoke with Ray.
Ray called the shop from time to time. His words were always slurred and it didnít matter what time of day. I finally spoke to my boss about him.
ďBrian, why is it Ray always sounds drunk? Itís a little early for that, isnít it?Ē Back in the day I would have made a great Pharisee.
ďHe suffered a stroke several months ago and it really affected his vocal chords,Ē was my bossí reply. His words cut like knives. I felt my face go hot with shame.
That was about six months ago and God finished His lesson to me today. I saw Ray again and his voice has further deteriorated. The muscles have not gotten stronger as they should and he is barely able to be understood. My boss greeted him warmly at the counter and they spoke for a few minutes near my desk. He acknowledged and commented on everything Ray said as if he were talking to someone who could be easily understood instead of someone whose vocal chords were failing.
Whatís more, I noticed Rayís attitude about his affliction. I can imagine I am not the only one who has responded to him in such a manner but you couldnít tell it from his demeanor. I have not detected one complaint and he is still attempting to run his business.
So, needless to say, God taught me several things through Ray. We may think we know whatís going on with a person, but we usually have no idea unless we know them. Situations often look one way on the surface and totally different once you dig deeper. When we judge another based on our surface observations, we are usually wrong and we effectively damage our witness to an unbeliever. Think about it, why would anyone want to be involved with a religion that looks down their noses at someone who is not just like them? Where is the grace that we freely received?
As embarrassing as it was, I am so glad God sent Ray across my path. I know I serve a God who cares enough about me to draw me up higher. He cares enough to do what I need to grow, whether I am comfortable with the lesson or not. The more I think about it, isnít that what any good parent strives to do?
Thank you so much for being so transparent. What a beautiful article. I'm sorry to say that I too find myself having the same problem. It's so easy to judge people. It's so easy to want others to not judge us because they don't understand what we are going through but to dish that judgment out like it's nothing. Thank God He is a loving Father who chastens those He loves. God bless your humble spirit. Most people would be to prideful to tell that story. You are precious in His sight. He lifts up the humble, those who are willing to admit their shortcomings.