Thursday was a special day for my family. We welcomed a new member. Not through birth. But through adoption. My amazing aunt and uncle adopted a beautiful nine-year-old girl.
Her name is Chloe. And I’m so happy to be her big cousin. But as I ponder this special day, I can’t help but share a message with you. Because Chloe reminds me of my own adoption.
Chloe left the courthouse with a new name. A new birth certificate. A new identity. Why? Because someone willingly chose her. Not because she did anything spectacular.
And that’s my story.
As an education major, I’m required to observe elementary classrooms. I do it on Tuesdays. The majority of the class consists of boys with Autism. I love it.
Last Tuesday, I stayed for recess. As I sat in the “teacher chair,” I noticed the boys playing iPads together. A number of them sat on a large ABC rug. I decided to sit on the rug with them. Why not? I like Minecraft, too.
A couple of minutes later, one of the teachers said, “We have another student!” It was encouraging to hear.
I enjoyed it. And the boys did, too. We watched Hulu and played games. One of the boys used me as a backrest. Oh well. I reckon that’s what big boys are for. I decided to become one of them for about thirty minutes. Lowering myself to their level, I put myself in their shoes.
That’s what God did.
It’s the word you hear as you stand in a long line. It’s the word you push away while you wait in traffic. What am I talking about? Patience.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience …” (Gal. 5:22 ESV). Yep. There’s the word we’re trying to avoid. But we can’t. Patience is a manifestation of the Spirit’s work in our lives. It’s not an option for the believer. But how? That’s the million-dollar question.
Let’s talk about road rage.
We live in a culture full of comparison. Words like “better” and “more” dominate our vocabulary. Who looks better? Who has more? I think you get the point. And social media doesn’t help.
I’m drawn to a story about comparison in John 21. But first, let me set up the story.
After rising from the dead, Jesus appears to His disciples on a beach. While the disciples fish on a boat, Jesus appears on a shore. But the disciples don’t know it’s Jesus.
The Bible says, “Jesus said to them, ‘Children, do you have any fish?’” (v. 5 ESV).
The disciples have nothing. So Jesus tells them to cast the net on the other side of the boat. As a result, the disciples haul in a load. Well, they try. It’s actually too much of a load to haul in.
I recently had a conversation with a friend about forgiveness. Needless to say, it was a tough conversation.
Forgiveness is hard. It’s usually the last thing we want to do after being wronged. But God commands us to forgive others. The Bible is full of references to forgiveness.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32 ESV).
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (Col. 3:13 NLT).
There’s something these two verses have in common. Yes, they’re both about forgiveness. But look a little closer. Both of these verses tell us to forgive others while also reminding us of how we’ve been forgiven.