Someone close to me is having an issue with a person in their life, and I can tell that it is stirring up anything but a Christian response.
Boy, haven’t we all been there!
We need to do better. She needs to do better. I need to do better.
But how? How do we even motivate ourselves to do better with this? When what we really want to do is to make sure that the offending party knows, in no uncertain terms, how completely wrong they are, till they beg at our feet for forgiveness.
Funny that the verse for the day on Biblegateway.com was from the love chapter. Here are some highlights:
If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong! If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and knowledge; if I have enough faith to move mountains; but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, or if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love – it profits me nothing.
I was already meditating on this, before I got the venting phone call. Isn’t faith the most important thing we need? Without it, it’s impossible to please God! It is by faith we are saved!
Yet that verse. If I have all faith… but do not have love… I am nothing.
And then there is the book of James, where he emphasizes faith working itself out in good works. So much so that Luther thought it perhaps shouldn’t even be in the canon of Scripture!
And in Galatians, what is the first fruit of the Spirit listed? Love.
So… If we are not exhibiting that first fruit, love, are we even Christians at all? We are nothing but a clanging cymbal! If we love Our Lord, if we are grateful for so great salvation, how can we not love others? We owe it to Him, and to ourselves!
So then; what does it mean, to love?
Read on in Corinthians:
Love is patient, love is kind. It is never jealous. It does not boast, and is never haughty. It is never selfish, or rude.
Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges, and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.
If you love someone, you will always believe the best about him, and endure all things with him.
It is not irritable or touchy.…. I love that translation. It’s so annoying to us when someone is irritable, touchy, and picks fights over the slightest things- but do we really think we are not guilty of the same? it will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.
I realized something reading about the wicked servant, who begged for mercy, and then was forgiven millions in debt; he literally walked out the door after hearing that wonderful news, turned around, and throttled a fellow servant, throwing him in jail for a few bucks. Seriously? If that’s not wicked I don’t know what is!
But that is the perfect picture of you and me! We have been forgiven a lifetime of evil deeds, and thoughts, and attitudes. Can we not forgive someone else their few offenses against us? Are we really so much better than they are? Or better at all.
Seems to me that forgiveness is one of the highest demonstrations of love. I read a story about a missionary family in India. The husband and 2 young sons were trapped in their Jeep and burnt alive by a vicious mob. The husband had spent his whole adult life serving the lepers in the area; and yet his wife and daughter forgave the attackers.
I really don’t know what to add to that story.
One final point about love, and forgiveness, and pride. Last Sunday the pastor preached on how blessed we are; and always have been, since before the foundation of the world; and always will be, millions and millions of years into the future. …and not because we did a single thing to deserve it.
Therefore. We have no right to be arrogant in the face of any perceived evil we see around us.
Woah! Does that mean I shouldn’t get infuriated and scream at the TV, when lie after lie flows from unrighteous lips?
There goeth I, but for the grace of God.
*So about a week after I originally wrote this…I was struggling with hurt, dislike, and unforgiveness towards a fellow Christian. It’s so easy to advise others to forgive. It’s impossible when I am in my flesh. I so need the Holy Spirit to live within me, to show me all my flaws and iniquity, my lifetime of sin that has been and will be forgiven.
Against one little slight that I felt? And I can’t just brush it off? My pride lives big in me.
But God. He has promised to make me like Him. And I am trusting Him to do it!
Praise be to His matchless Name, character, and love, forever and ever!!!!
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18 NIV