What’s Your Nature?

Sufferfortribe sent me the following story a couple of weeks ago, and it was something that just seemed to go along with some of the things on my heart about forgiveness and treating others how I’d want to be treated.

A wise old man was sitting at the river bank.

He saw a cat that had fallen into the river struggling to save itself from drowning.

The man decided to save the cat. He stretched out his hand towards the cat but the cat scratched him. He pulled his hand back in pain.

However, a few minutes later he stretched out his hand again to save the cat, but it scratched him again, and again he pulled his hand back in pain.

A few minutes later he was again trying for the third time!!

A man, who was nearby watching what was happening, yelled out, “O wise man, you have not learned your lesson the first time, nor the second time, and now you are trying to save the cat a third time?”

The wise man paid no heed to that man’s scolding, and kept on trying until he managed to save the cat.

He then walked over to the man, and patted his shoulder saying:, “My son… it is in the cat’s nature to scratch, and it is in my nature to love and have sympathy. Why do you want me to let the cat’s nature overcome mine?

“My son, treat people according to your nature, not according to theirs, no matter what they are like and no matter how numerous their actions that harm you and cause you pain sometimes. And do not pay heed to all the voices that loudly call out to you to leave behind your good qualities merely because the other party is not deserving of your noble actions. So never regret the moments you gave happiness to someone, even if that person did not deserve it.

Jesus treats us according to His nature, just think where we would be if He were to treat us as per our nature… That is why He saves us in spite of ourselves

Jesus saved the world; you, me and everyone in spite of our natures.   As I mentioned in the past couple of weeks devotionals, there are a lot of people I don’t like- and some, I despise what they do.  There are some in my life that I’ve had a lot to forgive and still find it hard to forget things done.

It’s hard sometimes to do what goes against our natural instinct.  To look at people whose behaviors we despise and pray for them is a little easier than physically engaging with those who hate us and showing them the love of Christ.  It’s hard even just to go out to the lost and give them the hope of Jesus too, knowing that most likely our message will be rejected or worse, we’ll bring down someone’s wrath for being intolerant Christians.  Yet even still, it’s not us that people reject, it’s Jesus, it doesn’t make sharing the Gospel any easier sometimes.

The point is, in order to be like Christ, we have to embrace those who despise the message of His sacrifice, and show them love even if they hate us.  Maybe even harder is to forgive past slights against us by fellow Christians and friends, reaching out and loving them in spite of past hurts.

Why is it so hard? The Spirit is willing, but…

People are wary and more than a little cynical these days, and especially among unbelievers, we are equated with every wrong behavior, wrong witness and hypocritical message from Christians passed. If we keep trying, no matter how many times we get scratched, they just may see Jesus in us and want His love and salvation.

Being here among each other, we are able to be encouraged by each other and edified as the early church members did for each other.  If we can keep the same grace, love and encouragement going into other sites and into our own communities, that would be a real start to changing hearts.  It will take time and effort.

If hearts are going to change, we have to follow the heart of Christ, which means treating others according to His nature, not ours.  To see them through His eyes, as no different than ourselves except for our acceptance of His Grace.

Have a blessed and safe week everyone.