Then Jesus answered his thoughts, “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.”
“Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied. Luke 4:40 (NLT)
Everyone has an opinion, and almost everyone thinks (at least at first, until maybe they hear the other person’s view) their opinion is the right one. I get it. I’ve done it. I’ve sat quietly observing another’s parenting style, and thought of all the better ways that particular situation could be handled. I’ve also sat – not so quietly – and offered my opinion to “help” the situation. I’m not sure either of those approaches is very helpful – especially when I approach them with the mentality that my opinion is the (only) right one.
I get it though. I mean, it’s easy to get caught up in our own perspective of things – our own worldview. It’s easy to wonder why that mom doesn’t correct her child when he throws a tantrum like that. It’s easy to question why my friend doesn’t ever say nice things about her husband. And it’s easy to “fix” their problems. I mean, clearly that mom just needs to discipline her child – and not a “time out” I’m talking a good ol’ fashioned spanking- that would take care of that little whipper snapper! And to my friend, “Quit griping about your husband, at least you have someone who is trying to live with you! Are you trying at all?!”
I’ve not actually said things that harshly to others. I’d be lying if I said I never had thoughts like that; I’m not proud to admit it, but I am still human. I still battle with my flesh every moment of every day. Thankfully, those thoughts are only there for a nanosecond, before God’s grace reminds me that we are all human, and we are all facing our own battles and demons – many of which I will never know about.
But God knows my thoughts. And He still offers His grace, mercy, and love – inviting me to partake of it, and more importantly, to share it with others.
Like Simon, my ugly, negative, and hurtful thoughts are always met with a gentle voice that says, “Kimi, I have something to say to you.” (I’ve learned that the more in tune I am with the Spirit, the easier it is for me to recognize His voice. If I have strayed from my quiet time with Him, my awareness of His voice is not nearly as keen.) Herein lies my choice – you see, I always have free will. I can choose to listen to Him, or I can ignore what He has to say, and allow those negative thoughts to take root in my heart. Heaven forbid what should come out of my mouth then! (Luke 6:45)
That’s what I love about this passage. It is a beautiful illustration of the Holy Spirit at work. Always present and aware of every thought, yet still a gentleman. He never screams, or shouts, or uses sarcasm. He simply says to me, “Kimi, can I tell you something?”
And then it’s up to me. I choose. I decide.
Do I accept the invitation to change the direction of my thoughts, or do I let them run rampant down this destructive road of subtle pride and silent judgment?
The choice is up to me.
With Jesus, there is always the invitation to learn.
May my heart always be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. And may my response to His Spirit always be, “Teacher, go ahead.”
Jesus, thank you for never giving up on me – even when I get it wrong or refuse to listen the first time. You are such a gracious teacher. You teach me how to be kind and compassionate. You teach me when my thoughts are out of control and just “wrong.” Your gentle Spirit reminds me of your presence and a better way of doing life. For that I am so grateful. I love you so much. In Your beautiful saving name, Amen.