Thursday, December 6, 2007

Responsible For Our Own Responses

I was uptown today taking a few pictures of the Christmas decorations (and nativity scene) today when I recognized an acquaintance of mine. She looked a little sad and upset. I watched as she walked down the street and then sat down on the step of a local business.
By that time, I had walked back to the van and sat there for a moment. My heart was troubled and I felt like I should say something to her. I didn’t want to waste an opportunity if God was giving me a chance to help someone, so I ventured out to see if there was some way I could comfort her. I wasn’t sure how she would receive it, but the last time I had reached out to her when she was in need, she had accepted my help.

I went up to her and sat beside her for a moment and asked how she was. I got the standard “fine” response. She didn’t look fine to me. I told her I wanted to make sure she was ok and asked if there was anything she needed. She snapped and insisted that she was fine and that I was bugging her. So, I just politely said that I considered her a friend and that I only wanted to see if there was anything I could do for her. Then, I stood up and said, “Merry Christmas” and walked away.

As I sat in the van, I felt stupefied. I wondered if I had had any business trying to do anything in the first place. Was it God or was it me that wanted to talk to her? Had I forced myself into doing something that I wasn’t meant to do in the first place? It certainly wasn’t in my “comfort zone” to begin with, so one would think it was God prompting me to talk to her. Well, I was a little confused, hurt, and even a tad angry. I guess one feels that when something like that comes about, and being the Christmas season, people are just going to respond well and accept your good-natured spirit and everything will work out just like in some kind of sentimental Christmas special. Obviously, that wasn‘t the case this time.

So, after I uttered some prayers for her, I pulled out of the parking space and headed for home. All the while, I was teary eyed and even a little blown away as I listened to the announcer on the Christian radio station talk about living for Christ by loving people and doing good for others. Now I was the one who felt like snapping and saying, “Are you kidding me?!! Geez!! I just tried that and it didn’t do a bit of good!”

As a thought about it a little more, I realized that it couldn’t possibly have been a waste. You never know what impact you make; even if it seems like there is none at all. And, besides the fact, I felt like God impressed upon me that “How you respond is your responsibility. How THEY respond is theirs.”

As I thought about it, it also hit me that Jesus didn’t always get favorable responses from everyone either. People snapped at Jesus too. It’s not that God’s message is ineffective (because it’s NOT!) it’s just up to the receiver what they want to do: accept or reject it.

I am only responsible for my own response to God’s heart. I’ll do my part, God will do His, and everyone else is responsible for their own reaction to what God is telling them. I’ll do my best to be obedient and act upon what God lays on my heart, but the results are up to God because it’s not in my control. So whether this blog touches anyone or not isn’t my responsibility. God does all the touching of hearts; not me or anything I say, do, or write. All I have to worry about is touching God’s heart; just like the Jeremy Camp song “Give You Glory” talks about. So, here’s to hoping that God touches your heart!! God bless you!!

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