Sunday, October 14, 2007

Through the Blood of Christ


The above three words are my top three spiritual gifts (in numerical order) as I discovered after recently filling out a spiritual gifts survey. All of the women at our Sacred Sisterhood retreat this weekend took the same spiritual gifts survey. The gifts on this particular survey were as follows: exhorter, mercy-shower, helper, shepherd, prophet, giver, evangelist, teacher, and administrator. Every individual exhibits qualities of each gift, but a few of them always stand out. It was fascinating to learn about the other gifts and to listen to the awe found in women who never realized they had any gifts. One of the questions asked during the course of the weekend was, "Which of your top three gifts are you using the least?" When answering this question for myself, the answer was mercy-shower. Of my top three, I believe I show mercy less than I help or teach.

Now, having said all that, I'd like to put it to the side for a minute. I want to take a moment to share with you, my readers, something I wrote down as a reflection during the course of the weekend. I wrote the following:

"Letting go of mistakes I've made. I often find myself wondering if my mistakes in relationships (big or small) are too big to overcome. I find myself asking questions like: 'What if she can't forgive me? What if that (behavior/mistake) is what he thinks I am like all the time? What if she can't see past the mistakes I've made?' How do I place all the 'what-ifs' in God's hands? How do I let go of the mistakes I've made enough to let God handle the other person. Instead of trying to 'control' the situation by worrying about how the other person perceives me. Lord, take control."

After writing this reflection, I shared it with a sweet friend of mine. She listened and made a couple of comments, and our conversation turned in the direction of our spiritual gifts. We began discussing with each other which of our top three spiritual gifts we are using the least. I shared with my friend that I feel that I use mercy-shower more than I use helper and teacher. She asked why I thought this was the case. As I started answering I started realizing the great flaw in my thinking...more than a flaw actually-an outright sin. Here's what I discovered: I easily show mercy to those I am close to. I find myself extremely eager to shower mercy on individuals I am in close-authentic relationships with. On the flip side, individuals with which I either have superficial relationships or we are merely acquaintances...I find myself prone to perceiving them by their annoyances.

Ouch. As I voiced this to my friend, I realized how horrible it sounded. She acknowledged that, but then went a step further. She said, "Oh, Kristi, that's why you wrote your reflection earlier. You are scared that the people in your life will see you in the same way that you are prone to see others." I had to ask her to say it again just so I could let it all sink in a little. What a heavy burden I have placed on others! What a heavy burden I have placed on myself! What a waste of a sacred gift if I only bestow it upon my closest friends!

Praise the Lord that I am not in control of how others view me...and that it doesn't matter, anyway. And, I pray from the depths of my soul that the Lord will take my gift of mercy-showing and stretch and mature me to see all individuals through the blood of Christ. Because if I am wearing the lens of the blood of Christ, then everyone will be the same. Only then can I allow the Lord to use me to pour forth mercy on His children.

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness"
Psalm 115:1