When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” // Luke 9:54
Disheartened and angered by what I was reading, I tossed my phone onto the bed. I usually avoid conflicts online and unfollow negative accounts, but after some of the posts and comments I was reading, I was ready to smack people upside their heads!
It reminded me of today’s Gospel. The Jews and Samaritans were enemies and had a shared hostility. So when the Samaritans wouldn’t receive Jesus, James and John were outraged and asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” (Luke 9:54).
Who couldn’t relate to that kind of anger and frustration? We’ve all felt it. Yet who did Jesus rebuke? Not the Samaritans who snubbed him, but His friends.
If I was James or John, I would have thought, What the heck? You’re mad at us? But we’re the ones who gave up everything to follow You?! And then once that anger subsided, my remorse would have set in because Jesus was right. I let my anger and emotions cloud the central message of Jesus—He did not come to condemn, but to save (see John 12:47).
Jesus looks at the heart. He offers mercy and healing, not only physically, but more importantly spiritually. When we look at hurtful people, we need the eyes of Christ to see beyond their odious exterior. There are reasons a person becomes hateful, angry, or self-destructive. When we look at a person as a son or daughter loved by God, our hearts can reside in mercy and not judgment.
Hearts are changed when they are engaged one-on-one on a personal level. Seeds of conversion are then planted. Unfortunately there will be people with hardened hearts who refuse to listen. In those cases, it’s best to step away. We’d do better by praying that they receive the grace of conversion and repentance.
Lord, make us instruments of Your mercy. Let us see hearts through Your eyes of love. Help us to discern when to press on and when to step away. We place our trust in You. Amen.Lord, make us instruments of Your mercy. // @bobbi_rol Click To Tweet