I’m always ready to receive good gifts from the Father. Then again, who isn’t??
And in using the word gifts, I don’t mean material possessions, but rather the little (and big) evidences of God’s Love in my life.
I know God loves me. I know He made me and that He wants to give me good gifts.
Then, in a total disconnect, I look at people who’ve hurt me, and I don’t want them to receive good gifts. That’s not fair. They don’t deserve that, you see. They’ve hurt me.
I know this way of thinking is wrong, yet I cling to it anyway — until one day I was driving along the scant Kansas countryside and the words of Jesus came to me. HARD.
“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.” — Matthew 7:9-11
I’ve hurt other people, yet He still bestows loving gifts upon me. Then I turn and I don’t want Him to lavish His love on other people.
But I realized: I don’t deserve those good gifts from my Father either. And doesn’t He love other people as much as He loves me?? Doesn’t He want to give good gifts to them as much as to me??
God loves everybody equally; I universally believe this.
In my head.
But my head needed shaking and my heart needed stirring.
Because He wants to give good gifts to people who have hurt me, in the same way I want to give good gifts to all my children equally, no matter what they’ve done and regardless of how they treat one another.
I can have a pretty rotten heart sometimes, yet not only does God want to give me good gifts, He follows through on it: He actually gives me those gifts. Gifts I receive with an open heart and an open hand.
But I clench my hands back up again when I think about Him giving good gifts to other people.
So right then and there on a sunny day on the open highway, I opened up my hands again and said, “I’m glad you are a good Father to me. And I know You want to give good gifts to people who’ve hurt me. I think I want to be glad about that now, too.”
Because if I’m not glad about that, about a loving Father who takes good care of an imperfect child, then I can’t possibly expect to receive good gifts for myself, a fellow imperfect child.
These logical-sounding words describe what was actually a very palpable shift in my heart. A shift of love towards those who have trespassed against me. A new understanding of God’s parental love. And another release of bitterness from my soul.
So I thank Him. I thank Him for the good gifts He’s given me. I thank Him for the good gifts He’s given others.
I choose not to hoard God’s love for myself.
For He is a good Father to all. And I am glad.
2 thoughts on “Sometimes I Hoard God’s Love”
I can understand this struggle. Intellectually, I know that God’s love and grace are for everyone, and that I don’t deserve either. But I’m pretty sure THOSE people don’t really, really, really don’t deserve it. I mean, look at what they have done and continue to do! It has helped me recently to think about some people from the Bible who did some pretty bad things, but their story didn’t end there. For example, Joseph’s brothers. The people who I had in mind that had repeatedly, many times intentionally done wrong towards me, never did anything like selling me into slavery. That helped me put things into perspective. Joseph’s forgiveness and acceptance of them is a good example to me. And it helps me think about THOSE people in the way God sees them and not the way I see them through my human eyes.
Thank you so much for sharing what has helped you, Anna! This is beautiful! I mean, our ugly thoughts towards others aren’t beautiful, but the way God works with us so individually to show us our sin and His love for all, THAT is beautiful.
Someone else wrote me privately about their own recent bout with bitterness and unforgiveness and the way God worked with them. It just makes me love God all the more to see how He speaks to each of us in our struggles so differently, but toward the same end of getting us thinking and feeling like He does.
He is good, and I thank Him for these things!