As you know from my posts I am really trying to maintain a close relationship with my Heavenly Father, Jehovah. Sometimes that is not easy, especially living in the world as it is today. I remember when we started really getting serious about our relationship with Jehovah; we loved the congregation and were convinced we would never experience anything that would upset us with anyone in our Hall. A spiritually mature brother told us that we needed to understand, our spiritual family are all imperfect humans and there would come a time someone would say or do something that may upset us. His point was not to be surprised or stumbled in our relationship with Jehovah, because like us, our Christian brothers and sisters are imperfect humans who are doing the best they can.
Given this background, when things are going good, it’s easy to maintain a relationship with our spiritual family and Jehovah, but when something happens, will it stumble us, or will we take it in stride? Will we try to understand where the person is coming from? If they are giving us counsel, will we humbly accept that counsel? If the matter is due to human imperfection, will we let it affect our relationship with them and most importantly, with Jehovah?
I say all this because at the end of the day we know what Jehovah’s expectation is, and we cannot let the actions of others affect our relationship with him. We are responsible for ourselves and how we react to each situation. We are told time and again to be forgiving.
Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Just as Jehovah freely forgave you, you must also do the same.Colossians 3:13
Jesus also told us to forgive, he taught us in the model prayer (aka Lord’s prayer) to pray for forgiveness of our trespasses (or debts) so that we may be forgiven. See how important forgiveness is? Extension of forgiveness to us is dependent upon our being forgiving to others! If we do not forgive, we will harm our relationship with God. Forgiveness is not always easy; sometimes we have to work hard to figure out a way to be forgiving in challenging situations. I personally find it is hardest to forgive people I love for things that have happened. Why? Because they love me and I love them! Therefore, it is hard to understand why they would have done or said what they did if they love me. BUT, what is the command? Be forgiving! Therefore, we have to figure it out and pray for help to get past it. If we don’t, it will affect our relationship with God, that person, and possibly others. It is a slippery slope.
So, with this one little topic, we can see how our relationship with Jehovah God is really our responsibility; there are so many other ways that we can make or break that relationship. How do we keep it strong? We need to diligently read God’s word and meditate on the things we read, we need to research and understand his message to mankind and how it applies to our lives. We need to understand the principles and laws so that we can do more right than wrong. It is inevitable that we will make mistakes because we are imperfect, it is just part of who we are. But when we are truly trying, Jehovah and Jesus know, because unlike humans they can read our hearts and understand our motives and everything about us.
Bottom line: My relationship with Jehovah depends on me, I am the only one responsible for it.
…”but each person will receive his own reward according to his own work.”1 Corinthians 3:8
“But let each one examine his own actions, and then he will have cause for rejoicing in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person. For each one will carry his own load.”Galatians 6:4-5
No one else can carry my load, I have to be the one who studies to learn God’s righteous standards; once I have learned, I have to be the one to place it deep into my heart. I am the one who has to constantly work out my salvation, I need to be humble, forgiving and turn away from things that are bad in Jehovah’s eyes. I have the help of Jesus, Jehovah and Jehovah’s Holy Spirit, the Christian congregation, and the ones overseeing the flock in modern times, but they cannot maintain my relationship with my Heavenly Father for me, no priest or other person can do it. IT IS ON ME!
Do you not know that the runners in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.1 Corinthians 9:24
So, then, because we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also throw off every weight and the sin that easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,Hebrews 12:1
I am thankful that Jehovah knows my heart and thanks to the ransom sacrifice of his son, Jesus, even when I stumble, if I get back up I can keep moving forward knowing that he will forgive me. What a loving provision; I hope that I never take it for granted and always appreciate the magnitude of what he did for me. At the end of my days, I hope that I may reflect the thoughts penned long ago:
I have fought the fine fight, I have run the race to the finish, I have observed the faith.1 Timothy 4:7