I laughed out loud as I read my Bible. This doesn’t usually happen but sometimes, I find myself chuckling.
Luke described the time Jesus healed a boy possessed by a demon after His disciples failed to do so. Jesus, then, prophesies His coming death and steadfastly sets His face to go to Jerusalem. Along the way, a village of Samaritans do not receive Him. (Luke 9:37-53)
THEN , seeing those ungrateful Samaritans, who just weren’t getting it, James and John, who had just experienced some problems with their abilities to utilize the power of God to do things like heal the sick and cast out demons, ask Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” (Luke 9:54)
Shall we just smote them, Lord?
And I laughed. Out loud. There with my Bible in my lap.
James and John felt like the Samaritans weren’t giving Jesus the respect He deserved, so they were just going to take matters in their own hands, and call down fire to destroy them all.
And I wonder, did the Savior drop his head in frustration? Did He look up to Heaven and roll His eyes?
But how often, do I get too big for my spiritual britches, and suggest to God what needs to happen?
How many times have I tried to take things in my own hands even after I’ve failed miserably over and over?
The answer is way too often!
Way. Too. Often.
Jesus is infinitely kind and incredibly patient.
But me, not so much. Not like I need to be.
After James and John make their over-zealous suggestion, Jesus rebukes them and says, “You don’t know what manner of spirit you are of” (Luke 9:55)
It was, as if, Jesus was saying, “you don’t know yourselves.”
And this is why the Bible is so good at reading us… it’s like a mirror to our souls. We don’t know ourselves.
We think we have others figured out when we hardly know ourselves!
So, I asked myself, am I more concerned about being right, about my side winning, as I am concerned about the souls of others?
No really? Am I? Are you?
Jesus goes on to explain, in this passage, that His purpose (as theirs, and ours should be) is not to destroy men’s lives but to save them. (Luke 9:56)
And with that, once again, I have to check my own heart.
Have I demanded judgment on others, perhaps those who disagree with me morally or politically, more than I have earnestly prayed for the salvation of their souls?
Honestly, I have.
It’s clear that this is NOT the way of our Lord, so it can’t be the way of those who follow Him.
It just can’t.
It’s never okay to lose sight of the eternal condition of those around us.
We are called to love others. It doesn’t mean we agree with them on everything, or call wrong things right (please, hear me on that), but we never have the right to be unkind or care nothing for their souls.
As we navigate these strange days, let’s remember to be known by our love.( John 13:35)
Let’s hope to goodness, others see Jesus in us, and want what we have.
Our world will never change until hearts change. One heart at a time.
Let’s pray for revival. Let’s don’t give up on that!
I know this, if God can save me, He can save anyone.
Let’s ask God to give us each day what we need to love others as He has loved us….for their good and His glory.