I was moved by a devotional in the Live Second: 365 ways to make Jesus First. It's titled Divine Despair from Week 1, Day 5. The scripture verse was Genesis 6:5-22. That is the account of God's plan to flood the earth. A story I knew well, but still a few words tripped me up as I read it - which could be different depending on your bible version. The words I read were:
"The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled." Verse 5,6
Have you ever considered God to have regretted something he'd done. Regretted you? This verse really rocked my perspective and forced me to pray and ask God for wisdom to understand it. My personal bible version says "grieved that he made man". Somehow that feels softer on my heart than "regretted". I desperately needed to hear from God.
I am not a bible scholar nor do I know Greek so I had to rely on God's spirit to teach me what to think of this verse.
God did reveal something to my heart but it wasn't what I expected at all. He brought to mind a woman I have started to work with on a project. A woman I have known for five years but never gotten too close to. Now that we are working together I am realizing we are very different. So different in fact that I find myself wishing I never have to work with her again.
Each time I am with her I envision violent things while I bite my tongue and walk away. I never thought I was that kind of person before - I thought even though I might not like everyone that I could at least be friendly and considerate. I guess not.
A speaker at a conference I attended recently said if you are truly serious about living as Christ lived you need to become 'un-offendable'. What he meant was that you could love ALL people - fully, like Christ. He said if you pray that prayer God will bring into your life people that will offend you in more ways than you knew existed all until you've learned to love and not become offended.
I never prayed that prayer in my words, but something touched my heart with those words. Being a pastor's wife, isn't that something I should be? 'Un-offendable'?
When I read that God regretted his creation I didn't think of all the things this woman does to turn me inside out or drive me crazy - I thought of all my unloving and unchristlike thoughts I had entertained about her. I realized that I grieved his heart so deeply when I disregarded the beauty and the awesomeness with which he made her.
Doug Bender's devotional says:
We create disunity and strife rather than love and goodness. We use our mouths to gossip rather than defend or encourage. We spend our thoughts on vengeance and greed instead of forgiveness and contentment. But how would our lives and even our world change if God were First, if we thought of his love before we swung our fists, waged our wars, or sought our glory, wealth, and comfort? How would our lives change if the concerns of others and the will of God came before our own?God's Spirit convicted my heart to put Jesus first in my life by loving those He loves. All of them - even this woman. She is no exception of his love and affection - just as I am not an exception to the great and merciful love of Jesus Christ.
Is there someone in your life today that offends you? Someone whom God created with the perfect intimacy with which He created you? Put Jesus first today and CHOOSE to love.
If you would like to hear what others have to say about this very same devotional message (and you are a Tweeter) visit #IASdivinedespair
"...choose for yourselves today whom you will serve, ..." Joshua 24:15