For a videotaped transcript of the sermon I’m referring to (May 21st sermon) see this page: https://www.facebook.com/ibcbolingbrook/.
I had a bad day yesterday. It was really busy at work, and both the managers and associates were in really bad moods. I was so angry at several people, and just…it wasn’t a good day.
Today, this morning at church, I came in a really sour mood and just wanted to be left by myself, yet at the same time wanted someone to confide in about yesterday, so I wouldn’t feel so alone. Then, I heard my pastor’s sermon.
He talked about Genesis 6, where humankind had become so evil that God grieved in His heart that He had even conceived creating them! Noah and his family were the only ones that even had an inkling of gratitude and worship towards God. My pastor talked about how hard it must have been for Noah to keep a righteous attitude towards people who were continually mocking and demeaning him, his family, and his God. My pastor also talked about God’s grace. From this sermon, here are some things I learned that I think could be applied to everyone, even if you are not a Christian, to your daily life:
1.) Don’t test anyone’s patience by continually disrespecting or mocking them, especially God.
I learned that even God’s patience has a limit. This can also be applied to people as well. A person can take only so much abuse and disrespect before they break and/or totally go ballistic against their abuser, unless a.) They find a way to stay away from their abuser or abusers. b.) They find a different way to interact with them, so the emotional pain and investment is not as great. In the case of Genesis 6, God was very patient (waited literally years) towards the people he created. He waited for longer than most people even live now, for His creation to stop mocking and disregarding Him, and instead give Him the respect and worship He deserved. They never did, and so God got so angry at them, He sent a flood to wipe them all out. I have heard a story about how a wife who was regularly abused and degraded by her husband finally seeks revenge by shooting him to death. I have heard stories about abused children finally having enough and killing their parents for the horrific abuse they (the children) suffered at their (parents’) hands. I’m not saying what the wife or the children did was right or OK, but that it is understandable given the circumstances.
2.) Give grace to people even though they may not deserve it.
This one really got me. My pastor told us that Noah was a righteous man who preached (read: warned) the people of his day about the impending flood, so that they would hopefully turn back from their wickedness and make things right with God and each other. However, they did not, and instead not only did not take him seriously, but (I believe) mocked and degraded him, his family, and God as well. Since it says in the Bible that Noah was a righteous man, it can be implied that he probably treated these wicked people with at least some of the grace God gave him as well. God treated the evil people with grace too, in that He allowed them to live for a long time and enjoy some of the fruits of the land to sustain themselves.
This can be applied to our lives as well. Do you have a person in your life–maybe it is someone in your family, maybe it is someone at school or at work, maybe it is a friend who has betrayed you–with whom you have a difficult relationship? I know it may be counter -societal, but show them grace. Show them you are not like before, or like everyone else. Everyone else may give them a difficult time (in reaction to them acting like a jerk) too, but when you show them grace it shows that you are different, that maybe they do have motivation to change and become a better person to you and everyone else around them. It may take a long time for them to realize this, but you must strive to do the right thing and not give up on them completely. (Disclaimer: If you are in a dangerous or abusive situation, you probably should give up on them –and this does NOT apply, at least until they start to change, but you still can treat them with grace if a situation comes up and you somehow encounter them.)
3. )*this is for primarily Christians*: God will always be there with you and will give you grace, even through the tough times.
My pastor broke his arms many years ago, but he says God still provided him with grace because it is through that experience, that he experienced the kindness, caring, and patience of many people that helped him. Yes, he suffered, but a lot of good things came out of his experience, even according to my pastor himself.
Yesterday was a bad experience for me. I was upset at several people, and didn’t even really want to talk to anyone there anymore. I thought if I talked to them more, I would have said something that I would have regretted for the rest of my life, and I would be, at the very least, disciplined. I didn’t even feel safe. However, God taught me several things: a.) He will be there with me when I go back to work tomorrow. b.) He taught me to treat the people who hurt me yesterday with more grace, even though they don’t deserve it. By the way, the very definition of grace is “unmerited favor.” c.) He taught me to forgive those who had hurt me, and just let it go. d.) He taught me to think about things, before I react.
So, if anyone is hurting or if someone has hurt you, it is important to keep these things in mind, so that anger and hatred don’t consume you. We should also be careful not to hurt others, so that we don’t destroy our relationships with them, and if we do, that we apologize contritely, so that the relationship can possibly be salvaged.