July 20, 2008
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
I know a lady who stopped her three-pack-a-day smoking habit.
When she talked over her decision with her physician, he warned her she might find herself becoming a bit irritable.
With a straight face, she shared that this hadn't been the case at all. She assured me she had remained her normal, sweet, kindly self. Of course, I was impressed - - until she also said that though she remained normal, that was not true of her friends.
During the first weeks of her quitting, she found her friends had become so disagreeable she couldn't stand to be around them.
Without realizing it, this lady had discovered a basic truth: people often see their reflection in those around them.
If I'm in a good mood, the Lutheran Hour Ministries staff seems to be happy as well. On the other hand, if I'm a little bit cranky, I can't believe how irritable the entire crew has become.
I'm forced to confess they haven't changed; it was me. They are only reflecting my attitude.
That's one of the many reasons I love my Savior. He didn't reflect the emotions and feelings others directed toward Him. When He was beaten, He didn't fight back. When He was lied about, He didn't lie in return. When He was hated, He didn't get nasty. Indeed, when people nailed Him to a cross, He forgave them.
All this Jesus suffered for us. All this He did so you and I might be remade, so we might become new creatures. As Saint Paul said to the Corinthian church, we sinful persons, because of the Christ, are transformed into saints. Those headed for hell are redirected to heaven.
Because Jesus loves me, I can reflect His love to others. He cares for me, so I can reflect that concern in the way I live.
Now understand, my staff will tell you I don't always succeed at being sweetness and light. . . . but I do try. And when I fail, it's good to know my Savior won't.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord and Savior Jesus, I want to reflect Your love, caring, and forgiveness. With Your salvation, I am changed - - I become a new creation! Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, so that I may live my life in a way that will reveal Your love to others. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries