"It is for
freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let
yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Gal 5:1)
Have you ever done your best to please someone, gone out of your way to do everything in your power to make them comfortable and happy, only to find out later that they couldn't be pleased? That they saw you only as a tool? That they mocked your attempts at friendship?
I had been up all night struggling with a similar scenario. I had been trying for years to please this particular lady, but in the past 2 weeks, I had put my whole heart and soul into it. I had done everything my conscience would allow me to do to to love her, to make her feel comfortable, to bring pleasure into her life, and selfishly, to have her see me as at least a good person, even if she never learned to be my friend. Then I found out what she really thought of me. She saw me as someone who was out to take advantage, someone who was trying to steel away those who cared for her.
Needless to say, I was pretty upset. At first I fought a very normal emotion: Anger. But God had been working on me too long to love this person in spite of her faults, and I found it relatively easy to choose to forgive. This didn't take away the hurt, however, and I tossed and turned for a couple of hours wondering where I'd gone wrong, planning ways in my mind to try to make things better, worrying about my image, etc. And the more I worried, the more the anger kept trying to creep in. In fact, "choosing" to forgive became a "minutely" necessity!
Finally I went downstairs to toss and turn on the couch. I was keenly aware that I was being burdened. Not only by her opinion of me, but by my anger and my feelings of inadequacy. I was being burdened by the yoke of slavery! As I began to pray, the Holy Spirit reminded me that Jesus could set me free from ALL bondage, even the self-induced kind!
But the hurt was too bad. Though I tried, I couldn't let it go! I began to pray for help. As I did, my mind was suddenly filled with scenes of Jesus' life, his arrest, his trial, and his death. I could see the religious leaders rejecting Him. I could even imagine His mother and His brothers gently rebuking Him. Yet He continued on. The more I contemplated the life of Jesus, the more the emotions that had been burdening me began to slip away. I began to realize that it didn't matter what this lady, or anyone else for that matter, thought of me! What mattered was whether or not I was trying to live the way Jesus would have lived. If my actions were rooted in love and a heartfelt desire to serve, God knew my heart, and I would receive a heavenly reward for my efforts!
Even King David knew what it felt like to be completely rejected by human beings. His cry, recorded in Ps. 142, completely mirrored my feelings that night: "In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me. Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life." (Ps. 142:3,4). Yet he too, found the freedom from the bondage of slavery: "I cry to you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.'" (Ps 142:5).
Dearest Lord, Thank You that our worth isn't defined in human terms! Let us never forget that when our motives have been love and servitude, You are pleased, and You will reward us, even when humans do not! Help us to learn to seek after YOUR approval, not that of humans, that we may be forever set free from the burden of slavery!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org