“For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water however suddenly jolted.” –Amy Carmichael, If.
I’ve thought of this quote many times in the past month. Watching political debates brings it to mind often, and this past year seems to have been especially hallmarked by personal attacks from one politician to another. Profanity is no longer something men apologize for using in front of ladies, and sometimes there is a sad lack of what could be called a lady among the crowds watching and discussing these debates. And it’s not just the politicians. There’s Black Lives Matter, and Blue Lives Matter, and, yes, they do matter. We all matter–so why do we feel the need to prove that we matter more than someone else?
It’s much easier, though, to see the lack of gentleness, of humility, in others than in yourself. My own “bitter waters” have been spilled too often this past month, though, as jolts have come with frequency. I can’t share all of them right now; I can only say that it has been a difficult month. And I am apparently not “brimful of sweet water.”
I long for that fulness of gentleness and love and mercy and kindness and grace. Oh, how I long for it. So many times I’ve read through I Peter, chapter 3, and prayed that those verses would describe me.
“…let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves…” (v. 4-5)
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For, “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” (v. 8-10)
Easier said than done, right? Easier applied to Trump than myself.
“…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame…” (v. 15-16)
In my heart do I always remember to honor Christ as holy? Am I always prepared to make a defense? Ah, but more to the point, am I prepared to make that defense with gentleness and respect?
Most of the time, to my shame, the answer is no. But I trust in the unfailing power of Christ to change me. I trust that He will fill me with sweet water, pushing out the bitter and replacing it with Himself. I love these words from Paul the apostle:
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
He gives us the victory! Therefore–be steadfast.