Forgive Me, Lord
Have you ever been overwhelmed with frustration when dealing with family, friends, co-workers or your children? Relationships can leave you exhausted, but can you imagine how Christ feels when we continuously let pride, our agenda, and the ways of the world guide our decisions rather than love. Christ had prepared a divine appointment for us in Rwanda that was uncomfortable but ultimately exposed our spiritual blindness.
We should understand every relationship this side of heaven is a relationship between two imperfect people. So with all relationships comes some degree of selfishness and pride which leads to conflict, especially when what is required is to see the world through the eyes of Christ.
Do you see your situation and relationships through the eyes of Christ?
Where Christ requires love do you react with anger?
Where Christ desires compassion, do you respond with ambivalence or disgust?
Where Christ wants forgiveness do you respond with judgment?
When we see through the eyes of Christ, everything changes.
We asked our partner in Rwanda to select Christian students for our medical training to equip them with the medical skills they can use to share the gospel of Christ. Our philosophy was challenged when we realized that four of our students were Muslim women. When we realized the situation, we met with the community leader who had organized the training and questioned this decision. His answer was convicting when he quietly asked. “Would Jesus ask the four ladies to leave?”
After all, they were being trained in a Christian church which was a huge step for them knowing that our TTT training incorporates the gospel.
Second, the ladies understood that to have access to the medical equipment they would be accompanied by Christian women who would be mentoring them in the name of Christ.
By asking them to leave, what message would we send and how else would they hear the Good News?
I then pictured my final divine appointment with Christ when he looks into my eyes and asks me to explain why I would ask someone to leave and miss hearing the gospel. In fact, it was this hypocrisy that frustrated me about Christians where religion, tradition, and rules were getting in the way of Christ’s message. Many times I have felt the Lord asking me to move out of his way and let him work, reminding me that He is the author of our Kingdom work.
Please forgive me Lord, when I have missed divine appointments you have prepared because of my pride and arrogance.
An essential feature of our medical training is our Bible story skits that emphasize the love and compassion of Christ. We used the scripture in John 4:7-26 that tells the story of the “Woman at the Well” where Christ reveals his true identity to a broken woman. He does this without anger, humiliation or judgment, just love and compassion.
When the four Muslim women saw and heard this story, it brought one of the ladies to tears as she had never heard this story of Jesus. This was such a dramatic moment that we had to stop the training and allow her three friends to console her in the back of the room.
After she gathered herself, we were able to continue, but then something had changed.
Christ also used this training as a divine appointment for these four women who were seeing Christ for the first time. Before this incident, the ladies had not been standing with us when we prayed, but now they were engaged and joining us as we sang and praised God in the name of Jesus. Then the most dramatic climax to this story was when we distributed certificates for completing the course they asked for a bible and turned to the New Testament to read stories of Christ.
I ask for forgiveness when I am in the way of His plans for the Kingdom.
What if I had asked them to leave?
What if the only picture of Christ and the gospel they would see was my agenda and arrogance?
What if the only picture of Christ your family, your friend, or your co-workers will see, is you?
Once again the Lord humbled me as he reminded me that he is the author of the story he is writing through my life and the ministry of Teach To Transform. I thank God for his patience and love when he asks me to move out of the way and let him work. When we find ourselves in these uncomfortable moments, remember Christ is exposing our weakness, so we see the world through his eyes. Don’t quit until his grace has completed his work in you.
For His Glory,
Dr. Tom is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physician in the USA with over 25 years of experience and an ordained minister by Southeast Christian Church in Louisville Kentucky. His true passion is world missions and he and his wife Karen are the founders of Teach To Transform, an organization that exists to equip partners around the world with medical and vocational skills they can use to share the gospel of Christ. You can subscribe to Dr. Tom’s weekly blog, Divine Appointments, to read more stories and learn more about the mission of Teach To Transform.