Skip to main content

I'm right, aren't I?

If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. (I John 4:20-21)

This one may seem like a tough one for some of us because there are some individuals we really don't have any positive feelings toward, aren't there? Try as we might, we just don't understand what they are doing, how they are behaving, or where they seem to be headed, oftentimes taking others with them on their misguided journey. We 'want' to love them like Christ asks us to, but we struggle with actually finding much of any type of 'redeeming qualities' in those individuals. I am by no means an expert example in this area of loving ALL people, but just some thoughts on how I deal with the ones I find it hard to 'like', much less 'love'.

It begins with me recognizing I am 'boastful' about the differences in the behavior exhibited by the individual I have issue with and my own. Most of the time this means I am a little too 'self-righteous' - I see my behavior as 'superior' to theirs. Trust me on this one, I seldom exhibit consistently 'superior' behavior! I might have moments where my behavior is pretty 'right on', but they can be followed by others where there is nothing 'right on' about it! We begin our journey of living others by asking God to keep US humble - aware of our own short-comings, challenges, and habits. You have heard it said it is easy to see a fault in another when that same fault exists in us. Recognizing this can be the beginning of a journey where we stop feeling negative toward an individual and begin praying for not only them, but ourselves!

It continues by me acknowledging all of us have been created with a sin nature - none of us were created without the desire to follow paths we know aren't the best ones to take. This may not seem very significant at first, but if we begin to recognize we all have the SAME propensity toward sin, perhaps we will begin to understand there is a real struggle within that directs the behaviors of the individual. The way we behave can even be a combination of our sin nature (propensity toward sinful actions) and our conditioning (the way we were raised and taught). Undoing 'bad conditioning' is sometimes harder than being free of our 'sin nature's pull'. We begin by praying for understanding - not so much of the other person's issues, but your own. In time, God will begin to show us ways to be a positive support to others who struggle in similar ways. 

Loving others isn't easy, and it requires some pretty deep awareness of our own actions, attitudes, and 'propensities'. Perhaps this is why it is easier to dislike the individual rather than find ways to be a positive support in their lives. We don't like being humbly aware of our own shortcomings, much less using them as a springboard to pray for another. If we begin to think less about how 'right' we are and how 'wrong' the other guy is, we might just get to the point our prayers begin to unlock new behaviors in both of us! Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,