Several years ago, I sat on my back porch watching a roadrunner zip by and baby bunnies hop across the field. I pondered my problem and began talking to God about it. He is never too busy to visit with me and is my helper in times of trouble.
Psalms 46:1 (NIV) says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Running to him is always the best thing to do.
I usually let things roll off my back, but a recent event with someone left me a little bruised and upset. “Lord, you saw what happened,” I softly said to God. “And it hurt my feelings, God,” I continued.
Just as I uttered the words, I remembered a statement I heard years ago. “You don’t have a right to be hurt, you have a right to be healed.”
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I felt misunderstood and I wanted to nurse my hurt a little before I really turned it over to Jesus for healing.
I contemplated hanging on to my hurt and offenses for a little while, but as I’ve matured in life and my walk with the Lord, I know that is not the best thing for me or the situation.
Galatians 5:22 says, “For the fruit of the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.”
We put ourselves in a win-win situation when we practice these attributes and give them to people. And let me just say, it takes lots of practice.
The fruits of the Spirit are how God wants us to live. He has given them to us to govern our lives and when we live in them; we stay in step with Him. Most of all, I feel God wants us to give them away to others to touch their lives.
I felt God ask me, “Kathleen, what fruits do you need to serve in this situation?” Once again, I took a deep sigh. I wasn’t sure I wanted to serve anything to anybody, but I quickly let go of that thought as I thought of God’s patience with me and his kindness and love.
“Well God, it needs love; I can be loving like you.” I muttered, still struggling. “I can serve patience because you have been patient with me, and I can give self-control even though I do not feel like it,” I continued to pray. “Change my heart, God.”
I began to ask God to help me to love like He does, pouring patience over the situation and exercising self-control instead of doing what I felt like or wanted to do. Everything in our lives is about us being conformed and changed into the image of God. He uses everything in our lives, the good things and the hard things. I also realized I could serve some gentleness in my approach to this person and that could defuse defensiveness and create a pathway for communication and restoration.
Step one in tough and difficult situations is always to get my heart right. When I lay down my “right to be right” and ask God to help me see things from his perspective, forward steps toward restoration are always made. Do you examine your heart in situations and ask God where it needs to change?
Not long after my conversation with God, I arranged to meet this person, as it is usually better to address situations soon so walls do not build between the two of you.
“God give me Your heart and give me your grace and power to serve the fruit of Your spirit and say healing words,” I prayed.
As we met, I gently stated my love for the person, my desire for restoration and wanted to hear their perspective. I saw the situation begin to change. I saw where I needed to be more patient and let God work on the situation instead of me. As I served with self-control, kindness and love, things changed and there was a beautiful restoration.
What fruit do you need to serve to others around you? Do you need to lay down your right to be right? Which fruit do you need to practice? God is right there to help you, to change you and your conflict or tough situation. I challenge you to pick a fruit and get busy practicing and serving it to those around you. You will be glad you did, and so will those around you.
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a Hill Country native, a writer, speaker and podcaster. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information, articles, podcast or to purchase her book, “Thriving Through Seasons of Grief,” visit www.kathleenmaxwellrambie.com.
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