Stan began our time, together, “You seem kind of distracted this morning, is anything wrong?”
“You are really perceptive! I didn’t think it showed, but, yes, there is something on my mind.”
“Care to tell me about it?” he asked.
“I ran into a friend of mine last night who said he had heard that I had become really religious. He was kind of making fun of me, and it hurt.”
“I was not very good at explaining to him what I knew was happening in me — that everything in my outlook was changing. I left my encounter with him feeling pretty low.”
“Not unusual,” Stan replied. “Actually experienced that myself more than once.”
“You see, the thing is that the people who have not been born again don’t have the capacity to understand the difference between religion and relationship. With your friend, he is probably thinking you have become some sort of “holier-than-thou sort of person.”
“What he doesn’t understand is that with religion it is a person trying to do something to please God, but with a relationship, it is God dong what He wants in and through the person.”
“Where does that capacity to understand come from?” I asked.
“The indwelling Holy Spirit is where it comes from. Without Him, who is the Helper and the Counselor, it is impossible to have the right relationship with God the Father and Christ Jesus the Son. It is a package-deal: three in one, and no one without the package can understand.”
“So what am I supposed to do in response to someone like my friend?”
“Love him and be gentle. Make him curious about why you are so different from who you used to be by being different. Be gentle and get your feelings of self out of the way so the Holy Spirit to do His work in and through you.”
“You may just have an eternal impact on your friend!”
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that you want to have a relationship with me. Thank you that you are constantly working in and through me to draw us ever closer together in the relationship you intend. Please, Lord, help me to always focus on you and to get myself out of your way so you can do what you want. Amen.