I just returned home from Sunday morning church services and I am still pondering one of those "ah ha" moments that we have from time to time, when church is not just routine but relevant in our lives.
The pastor led a prayer in which the following phrase was included:
"Lord, you who knows the best and the worst in each of us..."
Immediately, as my head was bowed and my eyes were closed, an incident came to mind in vivid detail - and it was, to my thinking at least, "the worst of me." I did not break any of man's laws, but I violated God's law and in my mind it represents the nadir of my life.
I cringe any time the incident comes to mind, and then immediately remind myself that God forgave me long ago, and He does not even remember it anymore, according to Isaiah 43:25.
This unwelcome recollection did not surprise me, as it has come to mind unbidden from time to time, over the many years since it occurred. It is a clear reminder that Satan is truly the "accuser of the brethren."
What did surprise me was what did not come to mind regarding the other part of the prayer, "the best of me". Nothing came to mind. I could not think of a single thing that represents the best of who I am.
How is it that we can so quickly recall the worst thing that ever happened to us, or the worst behavior we ever engaged in, or the worst thing we ever said to another human being, but cannot recall a single thing that would represent the best of who we are?
This is not humility. Jesus was humble and yet did not hesitate to tell listeners plainly that he was "the Son of God." Some considered that arrogance, but Jesus knew it was truth.
What is this strange blank spot in my consciousness, and perhaps in yours, regarding any "best attribute"? It may be the vestiges of shame, which causes us to overlook our better behaviour, because we know all too well what the dark side of our own nature looks like.
It may be false humility, which hopes that others will be able to see in us what we choose not to see in ourselves. That "aw, shucks, who me?" nonsense.
But it could be, hopefully it just might be, that deep in our spirit we do recall that "there is none that does good, no not one." (Romans 3:12) Not unaided, all on our own anyway. It is why we need a Saviour.
I sincerely hope it is the latter and not one of the former mind-sets. However, only God knows. Oh, but wait, that is the beauty of the whole thing. Really, truly, God does know, what is good and true and worthy - what He has placed inside of each of us.
My goodness, I am suddenly encouraged. I know the worst of myself, but only God knows the best of me, because only He is qualified to determine what that is. He is the best judge of character in the universe and I can trust Him to judge me rightly, despite all my failures and flaws. And "God does not show favoritism." (Romans 2:11)
Yes, I am well and truly encouraged. Hope your time of worship this week encouraged you as much as mine did for me. Until next time .... Marsha