Gentle Conviction

As I sat with God in the morning, I was feeling sad. I had received some news a few days previously and my heart felt a bit grieved. I decided to read one of Ted Loder’s poems as part of my prayer time. Such beautiful words… poetic prayers…. what a gift.

As I read, I noticed near the end of the prayer, there was one word that was sort of ‘sticking out’ to me, as if a highlighter had been applied to it. I got curious. I paid attention.

Accusation.

Ugh. That sure wasn’t a very beautiful word! It wasn’t one of the lovely poetic phrases that the author had used within the flowing stanzas of his prayer.

I stopped, sat quietly and asked the Lord what this meant in relation to me and it became clear almost immediately that although my heart was sad, ‘accusation’ was also there. I was seeking to blame someone for the feelings of sadness and pain I was experiencing. I wanted to find someone responsible for the situation in order to hold them to account for any possible injustice that had occurred.

I allowed God’s Spirit to point out that yes, there was grief, but there was also this ugly ‘something’ rearing its head. The Holy Spirit was gently highlighting the sin that I needed to confront. I needed forgiveness for the accusatory stance of my heart, but I also recognized that in my grief it was hard to let go of it. I asked God for His help to ‘soften my heart stance’. I also had the impression that if there was injustice within the situation, it was not I who was to speak to it because I didn’t have the whole story. There are 2 sides to every story. (Three, according to one of my friends!) In effect, I was to ‘stand down’.

I am so thankful that the Spirit speaks to us. The gentle conviction of the Holy Spirit is different than the accusatory, guilt-inducing condemnation that comes from a different camp. It is through paying attention to the voice of the Spirit each day and yielding to the truth of what is revealed that God is able to transform our hearts… but only if we are willing to listen to what God is pointing out, even if it is ugly and hard to hear. In this way, God can show us the better way… His upside-down-Kingdom way.

Rom.2:3-4 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

It is so typical of us humans to want to blame someone when we are in pain. Sadness and grief are difficult and painful emotions to sit with and rather than do that, we want to lash out at someone – we think it will make us feel better. Yet, when we do, we often cause more pain and hardship. Our own sense of self-righteousness can add fuel to the fire of division.

God’s kindness led me to repentance.

God of Love

Temper our hearts

To sing the tune that you have for us

Help us

in our pain and grief

to turn to you

to sit with you

to allow your comfort to surround our painful parts

Help us to loosen our tight grip upon our own self-righteous judgement

and release everything to your great mercy and care.

Teach us to love like You do.

Amen

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