Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Receive It So You Can Give It!

Have you ever found yourself making critical judgments about someone else? Maybe it was not anything you spoke out loud…but just a judgment based on a moment in time.

I found myself in that place today.  I was waiting in a line and thought to myself about the person in charge  “Wow…she is just not nice.  Look at that mean scowl she has on her face.  Would it hurt her to lead with a good attitude?”  I’m being honest here…so don’t judge me!  As soon as that thought popped in my head the Lord corrected me and said “Buffi, I love her! She is loved by me and has had a hard day, don’t be so hard on her.” 
I stood corrected and repented for my thought.  I could not help but allow my mind to linger there a little longer though.  Why was my reaction toward this person not first that of extending grace?  Why did I judge her with such a lack of compassion and love?   The revelation hit me;

I can only give to others what I can first receive myself. 

Receiving grace from others is difficult for me.  I am so hard on myself and place so many expectations on myself that should not be there.  Anyone else relate?  If I can’t receive God’s grace daily in my life for all my shortcomings, then I definitely cannot extend grace to others in my life when they need it.  It’s one reason that is so important that we DAILY receive a dose of God’s grace, mercy and love.  If we don’t, what are we possibly extending to others?

Turning on the news you can hardly ignore the fact that there are so many in this world that cannot extend grace, that cannot seem to extend love, and they judge others with such harshness.  It breaks my heart.  But keeping in mind that we cannot extend to others what we do not receive ourselves puts a whole new spin on what I see. 
No longer do I see hateful, rude, selfish people…I see a soul that God loves, that has never experienced His kindness. His kindness leads to repentance.  I see a soul that needs to experience the true love of God that isn’t rude, or proud, self-seeking, or easily angered.  I see so many people that have never experienced the fact that God loves them so much!! They can’t extend grace and love because they have never received it.

That is where we come in.  We are the body, the hands and feet of Christ! We have to be the ones to extend to others around us what they have never received, so they in turn can give what they have never given.  God so loved the world that He gave his only son….so that we could have LIFE!!! Life isn’t worth living if you don’t feel loved, if you aren’t extended grace, and if you don’t have the hope that there IS a plan for your life and you were created for a reason and a purpose!!
Our world is in a MESS and we are the messengers! We aren’t the judges! We have to be rooted and grounded in love so we can be filled (to overflowing) with ALL the fullness of God!! (Eph. 3:1-22) We must spill over God’s love if we are ever going to see our world change!
As I read that scripture in Ephesians…I was drawn to the word “rooted.”   A root is an anchor or support to a plant. The root is the origin/source of a plants nourishment.  What that root receives is what it is going to give out! So if we are “rooted and grounded in love and know the love of Christ that surpasses all of our knowledge”, no matter what comes our way or who rubs us the wrong way, what we are taking in at our root is going to come out in our fruit toward that person and situation!

This is definitely not a ground breaking revelation, but I do feel it is something we  have become a little slack in. This world of social media makes us feel it’s ok to air our opinions everywhere. But it is not! We air HIS opinions to the hurting and dying world.
Take a good look at your life.  What is daily coming from it?  Do you experience frustration and aggravation with others around you? You could be lacking Patience! Ouch…yes…I just said it! But don’t be hard on yourself.  If you’re having trouble extending it, I’m sure you’re having trouble receiving it.            Number 14:18 says the Lord is slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness!  

When is the last time you have allowed God’s loving kindness to flood your heart and soul when you knew you had blown it? If you want to extend it to others…you’ve got to receive it first!
The list could go on and on.  Take inventory of your life.  Get a journal and write down the areas where you seem to be really missing the mark in your relationship with others.  Then pray over each area and ask the Lord what part of His character you need in your life so you can extend that to others.
We are called to be hope bringers, grace givers, and to lavish love and kindness on others! As women of God, we cannot do that if we first don’t accept love and kindness, receive his grace and hope in our own personal lives on a daily basis! It’s a daily walk my friends. We all need it. 
I am hopeful that tomorrow when I see a grouchy lady, my first response isn’t going to be judgmental or negative, but it will be one of kindness and encouragement. That is definitely what God extends to me! When I receive it, I can give it! We are His hands extended to this world!

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