I did it again, I forgot something. I confess, I am not always on top of things. I try to stay on top of things, but don’t you know, the compassionate Pastor’s life is not an easy one. Such a diverse profession – part door to door salesman, part preacher (and the Holy Spirit is not always adhering to my timeline), part community organizer, part family consultant, part friend to all, part counselor, and only some of this stuff can ever be planned and fit into a nice timetable. Most often what happens in a day is thrust upon me and I need to be flexible and set priorities in the blink of an eye.
I miss those days when I was Assistant Manager at Jean Nicole at the Turfland Mall. There, I would open the doors, straighten the racks, greet customers, encourage staff, sell clothes, try on clothes myself, balance the books, lock up the place and leave it all behind.
As a Pastor, I keep a list of things to do, I try to not lose anything, but some things slip through. And I do feel bad about them when they do. When I slip up, I wonder how anyone can trust me, ever. I pray to God that I will be helped and forgiven, and I desire nothing more than to never overlook, forgive, misquote, ever, ever, again! And then . . . life happens, again.
So I begin to try to look at things another way. When I mess up, I see it as a calling for me to be kinder and more generous in offering grace to others when there are mess ups! And when I hear someone judging someone else for an imperfection, it is my greatest desire to offer the judger another perspective, because grace is so important.
I find people almost fearfully apologizing to me for minor infractions, and I wonder what they have experienced in life which makes them feel they have to worry so. And yet, I know what they experience; because I have been on the receiving end as well and the giving end of rudeness and cutting remarks as a result of another’s imperfections.
My go to response when my mental imperfections pop up is – “I am so stupid.” And then I wonder how Centre or LTS could have given me degrees, me being so dumb? How could I have lived and preached and pastured in Germany, me being so dumb? So I am logically forced t come to the conclusion that I am not dumb. I have a different sort of intelligence, perhaps. ~ one that is not dependent upon memory, but on emotions.
According to Wikipedia; "Emotional intelligence (EI) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own and other people's emotions, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one's goal(s)." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence
And I think this is the most important aspect of knowing God – the degree to understand human emotions, and respond with grace – and essential to healthy human spiritual growth. So when we find ourselves angry at someone, feeling like we have been slighted and therefore we want to lash out to cause them pain because of the slight we think we have received, may we strive to remember that we are adhering in those moments to a kind of knowledge that has little to do with healthy wisdom. Healthy wisdom is striving for grace, for we too, are imperfect. Empathy and grace can bring us to an intelligence that reaps far greater rewards than relying purely on a competitive sense of knowing. Love comes not from force, but from a sense of trust and togetherness. This is why God gave us free will, so we could love God, and know what love is, it is not forced, it is freely given through caring about the feelings of each other.