For quite some time, God has been impressing and imparting to my heart an ever-increasing awareness of His heart for the lost, in ways one might not expect.  He is causing my heart to grieve right along with His, passing on His intense desire for reconciliation of every person to Himself.

We live in a world where people react out of insecurity, having been spoon-fed relativism {after all, what is truth, anyway, but each person’s perspective on it, in the estimation of most}.  Feeling a loss of control and power, people grasp anything they know will compensate: bullying in board rooms, classrooms, and cyberspace, childish political name calling and rumors, outrage over half-truth “news reports,” road rage, gladiatorial competitions on fields for honors that last hours at most.

People express impatience with not getting their perceived needs met speedily.  Parents have become more upset and involved over their child’s performance in sports than with the example they are setting for them in relating to others meaningfully and mindfully.  Most people live out of their knee-jerk reactions to situations, problems, and others’ words and actions.  But what is the basic truth, the essential difficulty?

What is at the root of all this discord, this misplaced anger and misdirected action?  Isn’t it the fear of anything authentic in relationship?  Isn’t it the fear of human to human touch?  Isn’t this fear and discord all about our brokenness, not about politics, bullying, sports, or whose kid won the game but about who is loving whom well?  Why do we fear our powerlessness so much in this world?  Why don’t we open ourselves to understanding each other’s hurts?  Isn’t this what Jesus challenges us to ask by His examples over and over throughout the Gospels?

A great part of what God has been speaking to my heart has to do with people who are “already saved” yet do not express their lives in ways that honor God nor demonstrate true and loving relationship with Jesus.  What person is going to be motivated to know Him if the very people that purport to follow Him act more brazenly selfish and self-aggrandizing than those who do not know Him at all?

It is my contention that the opposite of love is not hate, but selfishness.  The Holy Spirit grieves this betrayal of His people toward Him more than those who have never known Him.  Holy Spirit asks, “What is going on inside a troubled person that compels them to say or do such things?  What goads YOU to feel, think, believe, or want to act the way you do?”  Holy Spirit especially pricks my heart with this when I am tempted to pass judgment or say something that would not be in line with:

 Ephesians 4: 29, 30

  “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

Since God gave me the motivational gifts of mercy and exhortation {encouragement}, He draws my attention to see underlying causes and reasons for a person’s words, actions, and feelings.  The Holy Spirit directs attention for true ministry through compassion for the state of someone’s heart, their fears, angers and feelings of powerlessness, not superficial situations, words, and actions.  He desires us to touch and minister to the pain in others that give birth to the anger and frustration they express.

I earnestly desire to be Father God’s conduit for His love to reach a hurting world.  As such, a continual quest burns in my soul to hear and live out His wisdom and love toward each person and situation I encounter.  That means dying to my own selfishness, listening to others’ soul cries instead of their surface words and actions.  And realizing too, that the flood of His love to them over washes my own spirit as well.

~ Denise


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