There are times we can get so busy in our daily routines that we don’t consider the thoughts that come out of our mouths when we see something that we know is off or unseemly. It is without question going to happen at one time or another, as a Christian, that you will encounter another person who is either new in the faith or someone who is curious about the faith. When that happens, it can be quite devastating to them if you see them doing something that you may not feel is appropriate or in line with how a Christian should behave or appear. When we don’t prepare ourselves to respond to others in love, this can wound a fellow Christian soldier, or cause someone seeking to turn away feeling sacrificed on the altar of our own righteousness.
Conscious preparation is something that many people often do in business and other areas of life to set themselves up for success. In fact, career advisor Dr. Linda Smith-Gaston says that “preparation is 90% of success in job interviews.”
When Jesus encountered the woman at the well, it was a conscious encounter. His encounter with her was not one of antagonization, but of love and receptiveness. He consciously asks this woman for a drink of water. It’s not because he is thirsty, but this is the way of opening the door to dialog and conversation that will lead to interest and seeking for her own deliverance.
When we are like Christ and go into situations where we see people and things that do not appear as heaven to us, it is our opportunity to present heaven into the situation, not as threatening infiltrators, but acknowledging that love wins when applied to every situation.
Conscious preparation requires us to stop, pray and even think before speaking. This means we have to be willing to be silent in times when something may be shouting to us “Help!” It means that we are going to submit ourselves to God in the moment instead of unleashing our will and opinions on an unsuspecting soul. Conscious preparation also includes being prepared through meditation upon the word of God, and even thoughts about how one might act in a given situation if it happens to present itself.
How much more light can we shine in a situation when we are consciously connected to a moment in love, than to speak without thought for the impact of what we say will have on the present and even eternal soul state of another person? Jesus told his disciples that the world would know us by the love we show, not just one another, but the world at large. Let’s strive to be more consciously prepared to face others with grace in love.
QUESTION: Have you ever had a moment where you wished you had face a young believer or a non-believer in a graceless or loveless way? How do you now show more grace and love?