This morning, I spent some time in prayer as I normally do in the mornings. Talking with God is a high point each morning, better than that first cup of coffee or the crisp morning air. This morning, I requested that He would use me in a way that brings Him glory, and that I might encourage and show love to anyone I might encounter during the day.
Then something occurred to me.
There is one person in particular whom I see regularly who I really don't like very much. This person has many problems in his personal life, and he seems to try too hard to be friendly. One kind word from me will, in turn, subject me to a deluge of words, as if I have suddenly become his best friend.
As I was praying, I mentioned this to God, "Lord, help me to be nice to so-and-so. Help me show so-and-so love. But wait ... if I do that, I'll have to listen to a day full of problems and issues and woes from so-and-so, and I just don't have time for it. I don't ~need~ a needy friend!"
Don't you know, right then, Jesus cut me off.
"Kim, I thought you wanted to be like me."
Jesus. Friend of sinners. Patient listener. Hand holder in times of trial.
Psalm 40:1 - I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
Jesus doesn't turn away from us when we cry out to him. He inclines toward us.
Psalm 40:2 - He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
Jesus hears us, and then he pulls us out of despair and helps us get back on our feet and on the right path again.
Psalm 40:3 - He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
If I am an ambassador of Christ, my own actions which point to God, will draw people to him. Yes, I want to be like Jesus. I want to reflect him. And if I want to do this for God's glory, then I must be kind to the person who so desperately wants a friend.
Just like Jesus was there for me when I so desperately wanted a friend.
Just like Jesus listened to me cry out to him day after day, night after night, during one of the long-term trials of my own making.
No, I don't have to be so-and-so's ~best~ friend, but I can be ~a~ friend.
And by doing so, I will show grace, kindness, love and mercy. Just like Jesus showed me.