This post is another oldie…but goodie. It was originally published on October 14, 2013
How much can one person really change? I feel I can say that I’ve really changed; but am I willing to extend that same grace to others? To see evidence of change in their lives? To really SEARCH for the confirmation that I’m seeking that change has occurred?
Yesterday, God gave me the opportunity to really test my ability to extend grace. And to believe in His ability to change people, without there being any real proof that He is in their lives. But just to have FAITH.
As I woke this morning to read my devotions, I read yesterday’s devotion in my ‘Putting Your Faith into Action Today’ book by Dr. Robert H. Schuller. Its entry read like this:
Respecting persons after you know them.
“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” ~1 Peter 2:17
Today the challenge you and I have is to respect the people with whom we live, work, and closely relate. Can we respect them after we’ve seen them at their worst? The answer must be a resounding YES.
How can our faith perform this miracle? Quite simply. Our faith reminds us that we too are imperfect human beings.
Our faith reminds us that God loves us even though He knows us better than anybody else! And if God loves us in spite of what we are, He will give us the grace to pass that charitable spirit along!
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) tells us, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” As I re-read and study this verse, something pops out at me. You can interpret this to read like this, “Now, faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” With this interpretation, you would expect the reader to pause after ‘now,’ as though the author is saying, “Ok understand that, faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
However, there is no comma in the scripture verse. Which then leads me to view it a little differently. The way I choose to interpret this verse is that the author is saying ‘NOW faith.’ Meaning, not the faith you had yesterday. Or the faith you’ll have tomorrow. But rather the faith you have NOW. So, I believe the scripture author is really calling you on the carpet to prove your faith. Your ‘NOW’ faith. Forget the faith you had yesterday. Pay no mind to the faith you hope to have tomorrow. What is your faith RIGHT NOW telling you to do?
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) tells us, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” The King James Version uses ‘walk’ rather than ‘live,’ to read, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Despite the fact that I memorized this verse in the KJV, I prefer the NIV version, as ‘live’ indicates to me that it is a daily, moment-by-moment, decision to LIVE my life out in faith.
This verse challenges me, because it goes against everything that is in my gut. My gut tells me that ‘the proof is in the pudding’ and that I need to SEE evidence of change in this individual, before I can trust and respect them. However, that is not what God calls me to do. He calls me to live in faith that the change has occurred. That He has gotten ahold of this individual and ‘knocked some sense’ into them. It’s not my job to look for that. It’s not my responsibility to hold this person accountable. My only responsibility is to Him; to LIVE by faith…my NOW faith…and to remember that, I too, am an imperfect being. I’m called to love and respect despite the fact that I saw this person at their worst. Because that’s what He did and is doing for me. And you.