Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
How do we best 'imitate' God? We aren't called to be 'little gods' on this earth, but we are asked to 'imitate' the love and grace of God. Regardless of how another may act, our actions should reveal the grace of God. Easier said than done because THEIR actions seem to evoke a response from US that may not always be grace-filled! The truth of the matter is that THEIR actions are THEIR responsibility - OUR actions and responses are OURS. Grace begins in OUR response to THEIR actions, remembering that grace if GIVING another what they clearly did not deserve.
I know how easily our defenses can go up when someone says or does something we don't agree with. Trust me, I have had my share of my hackles being raised by the words or actions of another. We ALL get 'rubbed the wrong way' on occasion, sometimes without us even doing anything to 'deserve' the wrong actions of another. How we respond in those moments is how others will either see God in us or observe just how ungrateful we are for the grace of God in our lives. Why do I say we are ungrateful if we don't respond with love? Because God GAVE his love to a bunch of undeserving, self-centered, pride-filled people - grace sent his Son to the cross. If we respond with anything less than love and grace in those moments when our hackles are raised, are we really revealing gratefulness for that undeserved grace?
We don't 'imitate' God by going to church. We 'imitate' him by living out grace. That means we become the living, breathing church - grace-filled individuals who have found forgiveness for our own sins and want others to experience this same freedom. Good works alone are never going to reveal Christ to a hurting world. If our heart is revealed in our interactions with those who raise our hackles aren't filled with grace and love, then all the good works are really just a facade. Our heart is revealed in our responses to those who don't deserve grace or love, but who need both in unlimited measure! Just sayin!
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