A very kind online friend posted a birthday greeting for me and had me in tears. He told people: “We come at things from very different directions sometimes, but she has always shown me nothing but kindness and respect – not because of who I am, but because of who she is. This is her nature. She emulates the Creator in being slow to anger and great in mercy.”
I was in tears reading his words – if this is something people see in me then it’s seriously wonderful! Wonderful not just because I want to be that person, but because I know I’m not.
You see, I know what goes on inside my head, what thoughts I have that don’t see the light of day, what posts I edit and rephrase again and again before hitting the button, what feelings I keep to myself and don’t share with others. I also know about the times when I don’t bite my tongue but speak hastily and hurt someone. I know about the times when I don’t even immediately regret it – those times when I allow myself to enjoy the “victory” at someone’s expense, when I indulge in a feeling of “I showed them”, those times when I even rationalise my bad behaviour under all sorts of excuses that don’t really hold water once I stand in front of my Creator and my God, who knows me inside out.
So if people do see me as “emulating the Creator in being slow to anger and great in mercy” then this is a sign that what Jesus has been doing in me is actually working, his work is bearing fruit. (Most of you reading this didn’t know the old me, so you can’t see the difference. I, however, have lived with myself for over five decades and I know what I was like before I was born again, so… yeah, compared to the old Meirav I admit that Meirav 2.0 is a lot nicer and kinder. But it’s not because it’s my nature – it’s because Jesus is gradually transforming me and giving me more and more of his nature.) (And since he is the Creator, yes, becoming more like him means becoming more like the Creator.)
Bottom line: the good stuff that you see in me – that’s all all all all all of it down to Jesus, who is slow to anger and abounding in love. He loves us so much that he went to death for us – not just death but a horrible, painful and humiliating death. Such love – it just bowls me over when I think about it. It makes me deeply grateful, and it makes me want to live a life that would please him.
And it gets even more amazing – he doesn’t just stand there saying, ok, I’ve done all that for you so now it’s up to you to get on with living a perfect, sinless life. No. He knows I can’t, and he gives me the Holy Spirit to help me! And when I mess up he still forgives me again and again and again and again and again…
This is just mind-bogglingly amazing.