Scripture Reading: Titus 3
For some of us, anxiety has had a place in our lives from the beginning. I remember the feeling I experienced as a 4-year-old when I noticed for the first time my skin color was different than all the kids around me.
I tensed up when an adult called me outside of my classroom in the fourth grade. Obedient was the last thing I wanted to be when one of the principals from my high school yanked me by the arm and asked, “What are you doing in my school?” That was a scary moment for a freshman who was only entering the doors coming back from lunch.
Trepidation also set in the multiple times I got pulled over as the passenger of a vehicle. It’s easy to see how anxiety used to hold a top position in my life.
Titus 3:1-2 (NIV)
1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
Ben mentioned that our beliefs shape our behavior. There was a time when I believed that a lot of the authoritative figures in my life didn’t deserve my respect. I never disrespected anyone to their face, but I never went out of my way to honor them because of how they made me feel. Ben said, “The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.” It took a long time for me to figure out that I could stop allowing other people and my anxiety to lock me in place.
Titus 3:4-5 (NIV)
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
I learned that being obedient or respectful shouldn’t be contingent on the other person’s good nature. How others naturally feel toward me or how they make me feel shouldn’t stop me from showing mercy and grace. I realized that showing mercy and grace independently of how others treated me, actually set me free.
How have others showed you mercy? Do you recall a time when you showed good nature to someone who mistreated you?
Take the time to speak to someone you wouldn’t typically address. Call the person who has been on your mind.
Father, thank you for showing us mercy and saving us with your love. Please, continue to grant us the strength of forgiveness and remind us to show kindness in times when we feel that we lack that quality. Open our eyes and hearts to all of the people in our communities. Thank you! Amen.
This post was written by Jaron Camp, a first-time contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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