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People are fragile
- Jacob Ninan
We have this astounding tendency to be selfish and self-centred, something that we were born with. We tend to think of ourselves first, and of all other people and things only with respect to what they can contribute to us! We move forward reaching out towards what we set as our goals, knocking people down who happen to be in our way and not caring how it affects them. Do you think I am exaggerating? Maybe you are not so crude as I make out here. But if we are honest we will recognise this tendency in us, irrespective of whether we are so crude or not. What God is trying to do through our new birth is to make us like Him (2Pe.1:4). What is the greatest thing about God that stands out in His relationship towards us? He gave Himself for us, the very opposite of self-centredness.
We know how He loved us so much that He sent Jesus down to us. Jesus did not sit up there in heaven and deride us even though we deserved it. He thought about what we were going through and came down to our level, in order to take us to His level. When He moved among different types of people He had a special heart for the weary and the heavy laden (Mt.11:28). He did not condemn the sinners, even though He was holier than all. He did not have an air about Him which made them feel small. He did not preach at sinners who came to Him in repentance and tell them how they ought to have been. He had a feel for our human infirmities. He treated people with respect.
One of the great aspects of God's dealings with us is how much He takes care to see that we are not tested beyond what we are able to bear with (1Co.10:13). [We may feel as though things are too much for us. But that is because we don't remember that when He calculates how much we can handle He also takes into consideration the help we can get from Him (Php.4:13). If we don't seek for His help it is no wonder we can't handle many situations! He works outside of us ordering all things to work for our good, and He works inside us to train us to deal with different situations in the right way (Ro.8:28;Php.2:13).]
Do you remember how God was very considerate about how much the people of Israel could bear once they left Egypt for the promised land? It says that He led them through a long diversion in order to avoid them having to face opposition just after they had come out of Egypt (Ex.13:17). What does this tell us except that He will not allow us to be tested beyond our ability? He looks after us as gently as a mother with her baby (Is.40:11).
Shall we not take this same attitude towards those are weak? (Ro.15:1). Let us not offend weak ones by flaunting our liberty (Ro.14:15,21;Mt.18:6). Let us not mentally demand that others should live by our standards. If we have to stand up at times 'without compromise' let us do it humbly and graciously. It is so easy to hurt people and put them off, but we know how difficult it is to win them.