It is amazing the things God uses to transform us into His image, things He uses to bring Himself Glory.
Yesterday, one of my posts from a couple weeks back was stumbled upon by someone who took great offense to it. This person posted a comment on a forum linking to my post which resulted in increasing my blog traffic over the past two days from approx. 20 unique hits a day to over 150 a day. This also resulted in what has probably been the most comments on any single post for me. Unfortunately these posts not only disagreed with me - they were quite nasty and hateful about it.
One cool thing about the internet and blogs is all the tools you can use, including one that can tell you where visitors are coming from when they visit your blog. In this way I was able to find the post that was directing all this traffic to me and I read the comments that had been left in response to that posting (7 pages at that time).
My first reaction was to be angry (the comments on my blog were bad, but these were appalling and many involved my daughter) however as I read the Lord impressed something on my heart. I began to feel compassion on these individuals because as I read further I began to see the hatred and bitterness behind the comments. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want anyone to think I'm something I'm not - I was still filled with anger of my own because of the attacks on myself, my family and my beliefs - but I started to see past those feelings.
So last night I chose to shut down my computer and pray for these individuals. God tells us to pray for our enemies, so I chose obedience. I'm not saying it was easy or that I was all that happy about it, but I figured obedience whether I feel it or not was the first step. I prayed for them and asked the Lord to soften my heart as well. He did start to do this -but He did even more.
As I started to pray for them He started to reveal to me that it was not all that long ago that I was filled with hate and bitterness. I was filled with pride - considering that I was correct in all of my beliefs no matter what - so much so that I was not even willing to accept discipline and correction from the Lord. At this point I began to weep and repent for this past sin.
But the Lord was not done. As I began to admit to Him these things from my past, He began to show me that although I don't live a life necessarily filled with hatred and bitterness any longer - I do still have deep dark places in my heart that harbor these feelings. They are buried deep and don't show themselves all the time, but they are still there. And He showed me two people in particular where I have allowed these feelings rule my heart and mind. And in some cases my tongue. I've justified these because these people have hurt me, they have offended me, they have tread on my rights.
But in the Kingdom of God these things do not matter. If God held these things against us, He never would have offered His gift of Love to us. What these individuals have done to me is nothing compared to the offenses I have committed against my Lord. Yet He has forgiven me and asks me to forgive others as He has forgiven me. He has loved me regardless of what I've done and asks me to do the same to others.
This started out as individuals who disagreed with my stand for God's Truth attacking me, but ended with God using it to reveal to me some ugliness in my own life. As much as I hate to see that within myself, I have chosen to follow Jesus and that means He will continue to guide me and show me areas in my life that I need to address in order to become more like Him. Therefore, today I praise Him for His mercy and grace. I praise Him because He loves me just the way I am, yet He wants to transform me into something even better if I am willing. I praise Him because He has turned what others meant for evil into something wonderful and good that will bring Him glory.