Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17

I Samuel 20:1-21:15; John 9:1-41; Psalms 113:1-114:8; Proverbs 15:15-17

You can tell Saul's heart toward David - it has no patience, no mercy, no justice toward him.  His absence, instead of being a minor disappointment, is a huge deal, causing Saul to attack his own son (I Sam. 20:33).  Talk about blowing something out of proportion!  "He is determined to harm me" (vs. 7), David says, and all Saul's actions bear out this heart attitude.

I'm squirming a bit here.  I'm thinking of my own interactions with a person.  I assume the worst of this person in almost every instance.  I am quick to perceive slight when none has (likely) been given.  I am easily angered by this person.  I am sure this person senses some of my "determination to harm," and distance has grown in the relationship.  Though this person (barring personal sinfulness and selfishness) desires only goodness from and for me (as David does for Saul - he is no threat to Saul's kingship), I cannot usually see it or respond.  And as I write this, I'm ashamed to realize that these statements could describe my interactions with more than one person.  How horrifying and totally discouraging.

Our reading in Proverbs draws this divide into sharper relief: "Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred" (Pr. 15:17).  I won't even mention the difference between the oppressed and the cheerful heart of vs. 15.

And here is Jesus and a man born blind, one needing healing and one who came to heal.  Jesus' heart is determined to bring wholeness, not harm.  He wants to act "so that the work of God might be displayed in [the blind man's] life" (Jn. 9:3).  

I, too, am blind, Jesus.  Your Scriptures today are shining "the light of the world" (Jn. 9:5) into the dark holes of my heart.  Your Spirit within me brings conviction, and I confess my sin and repent.  Forgive me for the ways I seek to harm these persons in my life, either actively or in the quiet fury of my own mind and heart.  You made these people in your image, and you love them.  Let me know how much you love me, filling me to overflow that I might love them too.  May I be an agent of blessing in their lives, and they in mine.  Amen.

- Sarah Marsh

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