Years ago I was talking with someone about our childhood experiences and they asked me if I had ever taken anything from a store without paying for it when I was young. I took a moment to think about it and then replied that the worst thing I ever remember doing was poking holes in the bags of beans on display at the old Farmers Market that used to be across from the High School and Junior College in our hometown.
The reason I so quickly remembered it was because I got caught in the act by an employee who just happened to see me walking behind my Mom down the aisle. I clearly recall feeling quite embarrassed and guilty as the young man reported my mischievousness to the cashier in front of my Mom while we were checking out our groceries. I don’t really remember what occurred after that, but I am sure that my Mom took care of whatever recourse and instruction that I needed!
The memory of that incident came flooding back to my mind this morning as I had an “Ah-Ha!” moment while reading from Colossians 3:3. Here the Apostle Paul reiterates a familiar theme reminding his readers, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (NKJV) When I paused and began to roll that statement around in my mind, I suddenly realized that this is just another reason to forgive and let go of the hurtful things that others may say or do toward you.
This scripture tells me that since our lives are now hidden with Christ’s then the attacks against our character are now in reality, an attack against Christ and not us! So… think about that for a moment. Since the attack is against Christ and His character, then it would be wrong for us to take it as our own because it is NOT ours to take! Compare that action with that of a thief who takes something from a store that they haven’t paid for. That was my “Ah-Ha!” moment… If I take criticisms, complaints or any other form of persecution for something that the Lord has instructed me through His Word to stand in faith as if they were for (or against) me and my personal use, then I might actually be considered a thief! That action would immediately connect me to the crime (of what was said or done toward my faith) and I would be just as guilty as the one who perpetrated the original toxic words and/or actions!
Hummmm… interesting conjecture don’t you think? Thinking this way gives Paul’s words of instruction later on in that same chapter a lot more credibility and emphasis when he taught, “Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13 God’s Word ©) Since our lives are now concealed in and one with Christ’s, then our only responsibility is to forgive the transgression, release it to Him and then allow Him to deal with it!
Like I said earlier, I clearly remember feeling quite awful and low concerning my destructive actions in that store many years ago and I sure don’t want to feel that way again, especially when it concerns my daily walk as a follower, or better yet, as a son of the living God! Would you? Consider that today as you walk in His footsteps and seek to follow His will for your life! Don’t allow the enemy of our souls to trick you into being a thief! John 10:10 tells us that thievery is the devil’s profession. Papa God’s profession is love and forgiveness! “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15 NKJV) and don’t let yourselves be apprehended as a thief!
Have a great day. Stay in tune and in focus to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s Profession am I expecting to follow today?”