We don't use the "J" word in our house…
Circulating social media is a ten-year challenge that involves posting a picture from ten years ago alongside a current one. Ten years ago, Christine and I were newly weds in graduate school.
During that time, we each worked unique jobs to make ends meet. I took the first open position I could find and quickly learned that I didn’t appreciate being called the “J” word- I preferred custodian or cleanliness engineer.
Cleaning the dorms of my fellow seminary students was a humbling experience. I would sweep their floors early in the morning then sit next to them in class in the afternoon. I would mop the floors clean only to watch them quickly became muddy when my peers tracked in snow and dirt. It didn’t take long for me to see that I’d need something greater between the residents and me. I knew my heart would grow angry and resentful if I didn’t allow God to fill me with forgiveness.
When I hear the phrase, "the forgiveness of sins," I hear "the ability to forgive my neighbor of their sin toward me as they have forgiven my sin toward them." It's the best work God has done for you and me- the abundant life is given so we can live and give abundant life to the world. We are the living work of God in this world, meant to display God‘s goodness to the world.
Eph 1:7-8 emphasizes God's work. Beginning with God and displayed through us, by forgiveness and reconciliation. During the days of cleaning floors, I learned the need for forgiveness every time I stepped foot into class or, better yet, before I ever went to class; I realized life is lived through Jesus. Seeing someone from one of my dorms was inevitable, and we would bump into each other in the hallways or parking lot.
In my season as a custodian, I learned that others will bump into our work, life, and family with their work, life, and family. It's how we view these moments of interaction that make the difference. Will we respond through the work God has done for us?
I leave you with this thought: All conversation is through Jesus; as I speak with my neighbor, Jesus is the mediator of the conversation. Knowing my words and actions are mediated by Jesus is a humbling thought.
Go into this world being the great work God has ushered into this world to display His wisdom and grace. Let him meditate grace through your words and deeds.
Let's get to it.