I woke this morning with a vivid sense that I needed to pray for a good friend. The thought that my words and presence in front of God is crucial will not leave me, no matter how hard I try to convince myself it is still the middle of the night! As I struggle to fix something to drink, slow my mind down to sit and wait on God, the recurring sense of how precious you are to God is overwhelming. I know this may sound strange, but how we respond to each other is the essence of our first steps with God.
Any sense of caring for others is not something one grows up. Parents try to teach us about love for others, but we do not live our lives that way as teenagers. I find a fresh example of what I was like to my brothers coming to life in my two daughters. When they stop to think about it, they like each other. In the moment-to-moment pressures of living, they snip, harp, and dig at each other's self esteem, attacking with no motive other than survival. My mother told me that my actions would come back to haunt me as a parent. If only I understood her insights and wisdom at the time.
“So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother?” (Romans 14.10)
The answer is painful because its frequency. Every time I attack, I take a step away from God. Why is it so difficult to learn and then move on to something better? The answer is even more painful to admit and deal with. Criticizing is often our defensive mechanism to protect our self from internal fears, from the unknown and uncertainties of self-esteem and worth. Criticizing is a wrap of protection that does not really help at all. In many ways, the wrap itself is a quest based on seeking the god within.
My advice is to toss the wrap and seek God's covering. He will wrap us in hope, grace, mercy, and love. God is home.