Have you ever been told by someone that you intended for something to be understood a certain way but you did not? Have you ever been believed to think a certain way but did not? Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do? Me too…
I’ve recently been part of a small group of some beautiful women in a Bible study. It’s a text group, so it fits into my busy lifestyle. We do follow a loose guideline and try our best to do our readings first thing in the morning, as we all should be anyway.
Last week included chapter 2 of 1 Corinthians. Someone texted that verse 11 spoke to them. There are so many versions of the Bible and I’ve come to appreciate some different ways the text speaks. Here are a few of this particular verse that I find appealing:
Who knows a person’s depths except their own spirit that lives in them? In the same way, no one has known the depths of God except God’s Spirit.
Among human beings, who knows what pertains to a person except the spirit of the person that is within? Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God.
No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.
The texter wrote, “My prayer is that I can move forward remembering it is the spirit that guides me and God’s word that is my map.” Beautiful.
There was a little back and forth on this verse as we all have experienced being the subject of someone else’s judgement. It has happened ever since I was in grade school and will continue until the day I die I’m afraid. Numerous times in my life people have thought I have put on an act at one time or another. They couldn’t (still can’t) understand why I have compassion and passion about the things I do… and since it seems out-of-place for them, they don’t think it’s real. Or genuine. Or sincere.
I take comfort in that simple verse from Saint Paul. It’s a reminder to me to stay humble and not be quick to judge other people’s actions based upon thoughts I do not know… which is why I like to spend time getting to know people so much. For many people I like to know why they are the way they are, what makes them tick. I recently got to know an immigrant worker and he was one of the happiest and hard-working people I’ve met. Usually people are dragging to go to work or irritated by how little money they seem to be making or how much things cost. Not this guy. He left his homeland years ago but remembers it vividly enough to know that his upper middle class lifestyle is nothing to be taken for granted. He’s very thankful and humble for the earthly treasures he has been given.
I once worked for a boss that was so irritated by me all the time. I was fresh out of college and needed a lot of guidance but he had none to give. Every problem that went wrong he would throw me under the bus in front of all the upper management staff. Come to find out, his wife of 40 years had just had her fifth stroke and the mental capacity of a seven-year old. So, maybe he was taking it a little bit out of me. It was easy to forgive him after I learned what was going on.
That verse is also a reminder to me that God DOES know my spirit and my sincerity when other people do not. They may judge, they may dislike me (behind my back or to my face), they may think I have ulterior motives, or they may think I’m fake or insincere. It makes no difference… God knows.
I also think of this verse:
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. – John 15:19
If we are striving to be liked in this world then we are missing the point. If we are aiming to please people to the point of compromising our convictions or behaving in ways that are against our spirit, then we are harming ourselves. Let God’s word be your map in developing your spirit and take sail to a much greater place.