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If Jesus Sat Next To Me

A few weeks ago I had a very difficult discussion with a brother in Christ who accused me of advocating things about LGBTQ+ people that he disagreed with. I managed to control my tongue but mentally I was writing this brother in Christ off and barely listening. After he left my office and I calmed down and got off my self-righteous perch I had this thought.

If Jesus was sitting next to me, would I have changed my tone, listened better, and responded differently? Yes, of course, I would have!

My second thought was this; The Bible teaches the Holy Spirit lives in me and that God sees, hears, and knows my every thought. So it’s not really like Jesus is sitting next to me. He’s in me!

Then why would I do, say, or even think things in front of him that I never would in front of my family or friends?

I spent a few days contemplating both questions/observations and I've come to these conclusions:

  1. I know Jesus is more forgiving than my family or friends.

Anytime I sin all I need to do is confess to God, repent- that is to make every attempt to refrain from that sin again. Thank God for forgiving me and I am good.

But there are family and friends who have longer memories than Jesus and are not so quick to forgive. I know this because I too am often slow to forgive others. Even after their heartfelt, "I'm sorry", I don't have amnesia. I remember how they’ve hurt, or disappointed me and if the offense was especially painful too often I "fondle" those hurts and replay them in my mind and now I’m the guilty one.

2. In the heat of an argument, too often I forget I’m grieving the Spirit

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:30, 31

I can get so caught up sometimes in my issues and anger, that I completely forget for the moment Jesus not only dwells in me but I'm expected to represent him, to imitate him. In the moment I am only thinking of my heart, my accuser, and me. I’m not thinking of God. Sadly.

So what conclusions have I come to? I've asked the Holy Spirit to remind me of his presence in my life BEFORE a potentially tense meeting or conversation. I've also asked him to convict me whenever I begin having unkind, judgmental thoughts. It’s easier to prevent a forest fire than putting it out. Lastly I asked the Holy Spirit to remind me as often as necessary that I am Jesus’ surrogate, representing him in every relationship I have. A child of God is never off the clock.

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." -Ephesians 4:1-3

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." -Matthew 5:16

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15 abr

Excellent observation and distillation of the problem and potential resolution. I’m struggling with this with a close family member and frankly it has taken its tolls. Thanks for your prospective and I’m glad I continued reading after reading your introduction.

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