When we think of some of the dear people in our lives spontaneous feelings of love spring to our hearts. Then there are others who are not so easy to love. They challenge our sense of justice, our patience and even our Christian faith as we grapple with how to love them.
We all have them in our lives from time to time. There might be the group at church who is talking about the pastor and trying to get him to leave. Or they might be woman at work who just seems to want to make life miserable. Maybe it's a neighbor who mistreats his family and evokes disgust from the neighborhood, or a politician who represents you yet makes decisions contrary to your beliefs. Even some extended family members can be awfully trying. Sometimes we feel justified in withholding our love.
The Bible talks about the characteristics of love in 1 Corinthians 13. Here God clearly outlines them. One particular characteristic stood out to me recently... "Love is patient and is kind". God's Word says that the world should know we are Christians by our love. Love should be the hand-rail that will steady us in all our relationships and dealings with the world around us. Yet how is it possible? One could not just turn a blind eye to injustice, mistreatment and gossip.
The springs of love are within God. Love does not naturally exist in our own hearts when love is not returned. God tells us exactly what is required of us when we face this dilemma in our hearts. Listen to His wisdom....
"And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly
To love mercy
To walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8)
It makes sense. Our responsibility is simply to walk humbly with our God allowing Him to keep our hearts soft with mercy while striving for fairness. This would make the difference in the situations where people seem so irritating. His Holy Spirit can give us the patience and the ability to be kind. This approach would even bring balance to situations at church or work that might be getting out of control. This love makes sense. Mercy and fairness from God's heart can help us deal with some of the hard spots in life.
Wow. What a great reminder, along with some reading in Isaiah this morning. Rather than get all worked up about being God, making decisions, being a good leader, etc., I just need to keep walking.
What a relief.
It's not that I'm struggling with any particular person right now; nobody's really irritating me or making my life miserable. It's just this ovewhelming sense of the need to make everything right that I struggle with. Occasionally. Okay - often. And that sentence at the end, reminding me that my responsibility is simply to walk humbly with God - well, that is simply brilliant.
Because if I can do that, I'm betting everything else will fall into place.
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