Pastor in the Pasture by Wendel Elliott: Shooting straight with expectations
Have you ever let someone down? I mean you intended to be there; you really did. However for some reason you didn’t deliver on your end of the deal. It might have been unintended or it could have been deliberate. The fact remains that someone on the other end had some unmet, realistic expectations.
I remember one time not putting down on my calendar that I had to help a friend with some daywork. The morning that I was supposed to show up…I was the “No Show Jones.” That morning I could tell there was something I was missing. When it hit me I picked up the phone in an instant and was calling him. He was out of pocket obviously gathering cattle with the rest of the crew. I left a message on the machine at the house, being sincere and begging for mercy and forgiveness. He finally let me off the hook, however he and the rest of the crew sure didn’t pass up the opportunity at a good ribbin’! They were quick to give me a hard time (which I deserved) the next time I went to help. You better believe that time I was the first one to show up!
We’ve all known what it’s like to let someone down or to be the one that was let down. You were the dad that got caught at work and couldn’t make the kid’s game or performance until the end. Maybe you missed it altogether. You intended to be there and watch. You had it on your calendar and it just didn’t happen like you wanted. Now you have that sinking feeling of disappointment in yourself for letting down the ones you love.
You might identify better with the kid in this scenario. Dad wasn’t there one more time. He said he’d come this time and you looked up in the stands several times throughout the game to see his seat empty. It may have been a seemingly unending cycle in your life.
Unmet and realistic expectations can be as big as repeatedly not being there or as simple as leaving the cap off the toothpaste. So what do we do on each side of this equation? What can we do when we have those expectations dashed? What do we do if we find ourselves not delivering?
1. If we have unmet expectations in our lives, God says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14 NIV)
2. If we have let someone down (which we all have) then we should ask forgiveness and do better next time. The more that we’re consistent afterwards then the more trust we gain back. In regards to sin the Word says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10 NIV) The same principle applies if we’ve let someone down in their realistic expectations of us.
When you find yourself on either side of this equation be sure you’re quick to forgive and quick to ask forgiveness. Remember this: Jesus said, “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matthew 28:20 NIV) Jesus will never let you down!
I’ll see ya’ll out in the pasture!
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