Here’s a Bible verse that came up in a prison Bible study recently: “If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.” (Proverbs 27:14) Maybe that sounds a little odd at first. But one person in that Bible study said, “This tells me that God knows me really well, and he cares about me.”
He explained what he meant: “My brain takes a while to get moving in the morning, and I’m usually not ready for any heavy-duty talk for a while after I get up. Not everybody is like me — some people are morning people, who can wake up and hit the ground running. That’s great; I’m glad for them. But if they think everybody else should be just as perky as they are first thing in the morning, then we have a problem. When someone tries to have a high-energy talk with me before I have a chance to wake up, even if they mean well, it feels more like a curse than a blessing.
“That’s why I love this Bible verse. I look at it, and I see how God cares for my slow, sleepy brain. Here God tells morning people to go easy on me. And he tells me that he doesn’t expect me to be a morning person. I don’t have to be like them before God will love and accept me. He already loves me and accepts me.”
What that man said applies to a lot of other things, too. Like: What if you’re new at all this? What if you just started listening to God and following Jesus? Does God expect you to be like people who have been at it for years? Does he expect you to know the Bible like they do? Does he expect you to be as good as they are at making right choices?
The answer is no. God knows that you’re just getting up to speed, and he’s patient with you as you learn. He doesn’t compare you with other Christians and love you less than he loves them. He knows your weaknesses, and he knows that Jesus died for you, so he forgives you and accepts you. Maybe it’s still early in the morning of your life as a child of God, but God is patient with you as you wake up.
Chaplain Philip Merten