Sunday, 16 January 2011

Am I trying to win the approval of men–or of God?

It’s January – and in the post-Christmas melee of an end to festivities, departure of my children back to their grown-up, independent, far from home lives and start of a new term, so back to work – I am struggling a little. So ‘little’ things become ‘bigger’ than they would do normally. In particular, a strained relationship. A once-close friend now seems distant – she has enthusiasms, so perhaps her enthusiasm for me has waned. Or perhaps I’ve done something to unwittingly offend her. Or perhaps it’s just that she’s going through the menopause. Or perhaps I’m just imagining it, and busyness is the reason that my overtures of friendship are being declined. I know I should perhaps clear the air, but then fear that, if there is nothing the matter, I will have made Everest out of a pimple, which will then cause more problems…(my friend has other strained and difficult relationships, so I don’t want to put myself straight into that category with an untimely word). So I wait. And pray.
And then I thought of this verse from Galatians 1:10:Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. This is in the context of Paul speaking out the truth of the Gospel, but it got me thinking. Who am I trying to please?
In grieving over this strained relationship, I realised my energies were going into pleasing myself. It doesn’t feel comfortable – I just want to be back on easy terms again. Instead, to please God, I need to do several things.
1. I need to love my friend. I need to keep on reaching out in support and friendship ‘as if’ nothing was wrong.
2. I need to confess any hurt I feel, bringing it to God. I am guilty of thinking more of myself and my feelings than of her.
3. I need to focus on doing what pleases God. If it is to speak truth, then I am to speak truth. If it is to do something good, then I must do that. I need to fix my eyes, not on the strained relationship, but on Jesus.
So I pray for patience, perseverance, courage and above all love. For love covers over a multitude of sins. Especially mine.

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