I am not a morning person. I don't even pretend to be. Getting up before the rest of my family, for quiet time with Jesus is more than challenging...it's near impossible. Between a snoring husband and a toddler who wakes multiple times, I average 5-6 hours of sleep at night. So, what's a working gal to do but savor her Holy time when she gets to the office. I admit it -- I do.
A few weeks back, my morning devotional was about how Jesus, our perfect Savior, really often disappointed people. It was a quick read, but it outlined just a few of the significant times He really let people down. The devotional covered the times when His ministry was really thriving and there were lots of hurting people who needed Him, but He drew away. It talked about when He let His mother down and she even doubted His sanity.
Over the last several days, I've pondered this. Jesus disappointed people, but Jesus never sinned.
I think of how many days my actual whole life is aligned towards not disappointing people. I feel it in my gut and I say it out loud only to myself in the most frustrating of days. "I FEEL LIKE I'M JUST HERE TO MAKE EVERYONE ELSE HAPPY AND I'M STILL NOT DOING A GOOD JOB." Or maybe when I have a really good day of making others happy, I feel the opposite. "I have done good today because I've met or exceeded expectations. Hooray for me."
Jesus' life goal was so far removed from meeting the expectations of the people who He really, really loved. The question wasn't whether He loved them, the question was HOW He loved them. He didn't love them by doing what they wanted, He loved them by doing what He was called to do. He loved them by completing His mission, even all the way to the cross.
Now? Let's take it a step further. Jesus disappointed people, but Jesus didn't sin. Could it be that we might be able to disappoint people without sinning either? Don't get me wrong - a lot of times when I've disappointed people, I HAVE actually sinned. But sometimes? I haven't. Sometimes I've disappointed people because their expectations were too high. Sometimes I disappoint people because I am making the wisest choice and it's not the one they'd have me make. Sometimes I disappoint people because I'm trying to be defined by my Father's Kingdom and not by this world.
Might we disappoint people without sinning either?
Could we take it even one more step further? Could we say: Not only is it possible that I might disappoint people without sinning, but sometimes when I live in such a way as to not disappoint others - I AM SINNING?
Anytime our lives are pointed and moving towards the approval of men and not God, we've gotten off path. We've forgotten our call and our commissioning. We've made the people our masters and their approval, or lack of disappointment, our treasure. I think that there are times when our worshipful obedience to God will turn into the joy or approval of others, but I don't think that overlap should be our goal.
So here's my first big gut check for myself and for all of us this holiday season: Are we ok with disappointing people when we are faithfully obeying God? Is our aim the approval of men or our Heavenly Father? Do we need to accept some grace and walk in freedom for times when we've let others down but haven't actually sinned at all?
I'm going to come back later in the week with some more fleshed out thoughts about really actually dealing with the disappointment of others.
I'd love to hear below in the comments though, does this resonate?