Monday, August 12, 2013

Loving Each Other. . .

We live in a world of tough guys, bullies, selfishness, etc.  In this world, even among many Christians, we are expected to stand up for ourselves (and sometimes this is necessary for safety or a child's well-being).  We are told, fight the battle. . .negotiate. . .jockey for position.  At some point in our days, even those who try to submit to the Lord God find themselves guilty of this self promoting behavior or at a minimum thought process.  But I would like to challenge this idea with Jesus Himself.  As Christians, we are called to become more like Him each day. What a daunting thought.

In John 18 when the soldiers came for Jesus, Peter cut off the ear of one of soldiers.  Not only did Jesus remind Peter of the work to be done but he healed the soldiers ear!  Wow!  He could have simply told Peter to stand down. After all, would it not have been just to cut all the soldier's ears off?  But Jesus was kind, loving and sensitive even at this unbelievably difficult time.

So, should we defend our honor and jockey for position or should we remember:

"A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back."  Proverbs 29:11

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice." Ephesians 4:31

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;" James 1:19

Life is difficult. Sometimes it really stinks.  But I think it is a question of trust.  Can we trust God to defend us? Do we trust Him that even this situation will turn out for our best and His glory.  Can we love those who treat us badly?

"“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."  Matthew 5:43-48

Admittedly, this is hard. When a Christian brother or sister treats you in an un-Christ-like manner, it requires immediate prayer.  Nothing turns away wrath and anger like prayer.  If you are truly blessed . . .they will even think you sensitive! :)