Last updated 10/9/2008 at Noon
So, there I sat praying and miserable. At least God would understand. Surely he would have an answer. I was convinced that through prayer, this difficult situation would be handled; the person who was not cooperating and causing such upset would be convicted or God would show me a way to handle this ordeal.
As I sat in my angelic position, pleading with God, eyes closed, I got this image of Jesus standing between my bed and the dresser, his head cast down and heavy from an enormous crown of thorns. He wore only a white garment around his waist, barefooted and bleeding, bound with filthy rope at his wrists.
The week went like that. I’d pray and he’d show up in my mind’s eye. What was the connection? The image obviously was of Jesus standing accused before his crucifixion. His hands were tied. So I began wondering what it meant. Were my hands tied in this difficult situation? Was there nothing I could or should do? Wait on the Lord to act? I’m a contemplative… I can live with that.
Then like ice water in my face, I understood. I was the accuser. Because of my crummy attitude, I bound the hands of the Lord from working on my behalf. It didn’t matter what the other person in this scenario did or didn’t do. I stood as judge. I swung the gavel. In my mind, he was guilty.
I dropped my head in shame and prayed: “Oh Lord, I had accused this person. You live in him, too. I judged not only his actions, I accused you. I bound your hands from extending grace in the situation because my agenda hadn’t been met. I shut the door on your love.”
It was then that I realized it didn’t matter how the other person hurt me, it was where I took that pain. Yes to prayer, but not to God’s mercy. I chose to turn off God’s light and power. I bound his hands to act because I wasn’t thinking of peaceful resolutions. No, my heart was dark, my thoughts ugly. God simply won’t work in that environment. His light can only illuminate if I don’t allow the darkness of self-interest to manifest.
I invited God’s grace into both our situations. In turn, a good resolve for both parties hatched, joy was restored, and all the darkness dissipated. Praise God!
To judge others is to judge God who created them and lives within us all. My britches just aren’t big enough for that task, thank you. In realigning my heart to that of the Lord, I knew in a deep and personal way why faith matters. It brings peace!
“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart. Nobody should be roused to wrath or insult on your account. Everyone should rather be moved to peace, goodwill, and mercy as a result of your self-restraint. For we have been called for the purpose of healing the wounded, binding up those who are bruised, and reclaiming the erring.” – St. Francis of Assisi