Lectionary Reflections for September 7, 2014

Readings: Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 149, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20.

I often tell people when they ask that yes, I am a Christian, I’m just not a very good one. I’ve had writers block these last few weeks and haven’t written much of anything that’s not school related, and part of the reason for that is that I’ve been struggling and feeling like a failure. I get discouraged because I try so hard to either do things I’m supposed to do or not do things I’m not supposed to do. I cursed a lady out last week for illegally parking and thus blocking me in my spot when I had to be home on time to get my kids off the bus. Sure I had plenty of excuses, like this was the third time in the last month that someone had parked me in, when each time I was legally parked in a marked spot, I was having a bad day and had had to be up earlier than I wanted to be, it seems that people have been rude and condescending to me a lot lately, I was feeling upset about other things. But none of that is an excuse for what I did.

I was really upset that I screwed up in such a way, and I’m really ashamed of it. I’d been struggling with the whole do this and not do this concept that I think I lost sight of God because I was just trying so hard. Romans 13 talks about all the commands, the do’s and the don’ts, being summed up by the concept of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. If I had loved that lady in the parking lot I’d have had compassion on her instead of feeling the anger inside that I felt, I’d have let the incident go either without saying anything or just smiling and saying “thank-you” when she said she was coming to move her car, both of which would have been much more profitable responses for both of us.

Instead of trying hard to remember not to curse, to not get angry about little things, to not call people names, and to put so much effort into all of those things which I ultimately failed and did them anyway, I would have acted right if I’d have been focused on love, if I had loved that woman I wouldn’t have cursed at her, gotten angry, etc. In fact this passage of Scripture says that “love achieves everything the law requires”. Instead of worrying about being a good Christian by following a list of rules and regulations, I need to focus on love, and if I can do that, the things I should or shouldn’t do will probably tend to take care of themselves a little more. Maybe I can learn to be a better Christian by learning to love.

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