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Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:11-12

High maintenance people are usually described as those people who are always in need of attention, always demanding to be the center of every conversation and demanding their needs and opinions be accepted as fact. It’s their way or no way. One word describes high maintenance people: needy.

We may not like to think of ourselves this way, but in a sense, each of us is high maintenance when God is concerned. Think about that for a moment. High maintenance people always need to have their own way. What is it that gets us into trouble in our spiritual walk? Wanting to have things our way!

We want toys so we run up the credit card. We want exciting, passionate ‘romance’ so we when one partner gets boring we seek out another one. We want a pastor or church that does things our way so we change churches as soon as we are offended. We want our prayers answered when and how we feel so we get mad at God when he chooses a different path for our lives. Like it or not, if you are human, you are high maintenance.

The good news is, your Heavenly Father knew you’d be high maintenance from the very beginning. After all, wasn’t it the desire to have things their own way that led Adam and Eve to rebel against God? Wasn’t it David’s uncontrolled ‘want’ that led him to sleep with another man’s wife? Wasn’t Jesus murdered by the Jews because they wanted to keep their religion pure?

That’s why, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray he included provision for the things we need the most. “Give us this day our daily bread” speaks to our need for physical needs to be met. Not just food, but health, or the strength to endure when health is taken from us. Jesus knows what we need and wants us to ask for it.

Jesus doesn’t just stop at physical need even though that is the focus of our attention. Jesus goes deeper. He knew we’d need forgiveness. He knew we’d need mercy. He knew we’d need grace. He also knew our ex-spouses would need our forgiveness (even if it’s not offered or deserved). He knew our rebellious kids would need to be extended grace even though they’ve ignored their curfew for the third night in a row. He knew that the people who’ve hurt us the most would need forgiveness just like we do.

For us, high maintenance people are draining, frustrating and hopeless. Not for Jesus. With Jesus there is always hope. He doesn’t see us as high maintenance. He sees us as sheep who’ve wandered far from the flock, as little children who need understanding and a lap to sit on. Jesus always has plenty of grace and forgiveness to extend to you. All he asks is that you extend the same to the high maintenance people around you.

PRAYER: Father God, I confess to you that I’m high maintenance. I want my way. I want my needs met. I want to control my own destiny and don’t want anyone getting in the way of that. Forgive me for my stubbornness. Forgive me for my unwillingness to be patient with the high maintenance people around me. Empower me with your spirit to grant grace and forgiveness to those around me who need it as much as I do. In Jesus name, Amen.

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April 2011
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