Loving people we disagree with isn’t easy, and yet, I feel God convicting my own heart all over again. God calls us to love others and live unoffended, and not give others control over our emotions or how we live out our future. Learning to love others well, when it’s hard, is God’s best for us.
This is easier said than done, and I’m the first one to admit this. As I bake Crisscross and Chocolate Chip cookies for Thanksgiving I realize this is not what most of us want to hear when we’re upset by the way someone treats us, or by how they don’t. We have emotions to process and feelings to talk through. It gets messy and yet, we can’t stay stuck in this place.
So today is a heartfelt prayer asking God to break off of my life, and yours too, that which is not from Him, and empower us to love others well with His love, grace, and wisdom.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that” (Luke 6:32-33).
God calls us to love those we have relationships with who don’t always feel easy to love. Those who we may want to run and hide from, or confront and prove how we’re right and they’re wrong. Either way, God calls us to love others well, live in peace with, and pray for those who rub us the wrong way.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
Having healthy boundaries is right. Making decisions to get help or walk away from an abusive relationship is good, but it’s not my focus of this post. I’m talking about the life we live with the people in our lives that we’re not walking away from.
As we learn and grow there is nothing wrong with recognizing rotten fruit, processing what we see, and learning from others’ mistakes. “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16).
It’s not okay to continuously tear down those same people and rehash their mistakes. None of us ever want to be on the receiving end of this. “If you criticize each other and condemn each other, then you are criticizing and condemning God’s law” (James 4:11).
It can be a challenge to look for ways to love others well and build up those whose wrongs we see so clearly. Yet, condemnation and criticism do not draw my heart, yours, or theirs towards God. Love, compassion and grace does.
Let’s be willing to take on the challenge, with God’s help.
Let’s humble ourselves, love others well, show compassion, and give so much grace to ourselves and them. #preachingtomyownheart “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you” (James 4:7-8).
Our job is to obey God’s law, not criticize those who know Him and don’t.
So I’m not just serving up turkey this year. I’m trying to serve up intentionality to uplift and benefit others. This will help cure you and me of finding fault, and increase our ability to love God’s way. “[…] ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these” (Mark 12:31). Our oven may be in need of cleaning like our hearts and minds are at times, but we can do this friend.
Don’t worry, I bristle up at the thought of this too. It’s hard y’all. To love others well means we have to lay down our agenda and step out of our comfort zones and do what doesn’t come naturally. “You can’t prove points and lift up Jesus too,” as my former pastor used to say.
I realize that God cannot bless what I put my hands too, when I use my words to tear down. More than that, I don’t want to cultivate a practice of this in my own life. I want to uplift people, be generous, and be a conduit of God’s mercy and grace as the foundation of my life. And, I bet you do too.
God calls out the best in people before they become who He has called them to be. God calls us by the name of who we will become, not who we presently are. He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning the father of many before he was a father at all. You and I can do the same by faith. If nothing else, we’ll change in the process and that makes it all worth it. So be willing to change things up and throw on a new hat as we wrap up 2020. Let’s be the change we’re looking for in the world.
Not one of us can cure anyone else, but we can work on curing ourselves. I’m letting this soak in my spirit this Thanksgiving, along with all that I am grateful for.
We can change our ways, humble ourselves, pray fervently (there is power in prayer) and choose joy!
We can take part in Operation Build Others Up by actively doing so. We can uproot strongholds in our own lives by changing how we think and behave with God’s help. We have access to the same power through God’s Spirit living in us, that raised Jesus from the dead. We can do more than we think we can by God’s grace.
The wrong ways people treat us has a tendency to make us want to harden our hearts towards them. And yet, this is not God’s best.
Heres a prayer to help us all:
Thank you for giving us the strength to do what’s right and to love others well. Help us give honor to whom honor is due and be willing to humble ourselves before you. Help us surrender our ways to yours. Help us keep our hearts tender and clean before you. Let your love and grace flow lavishly through us to others, even when it’s hard. Help us forgive so we can walk in freedom and not be bound hurt. Thank you for your love that flows in and through us and covers a multitude of sins. You are gracious and generous and have forgiven much so we can too. Be with us all in a mighty way. Let your grace, wisdom, and power reign in our everyday lives. We put our trust in you. We praise you for who you are.
In Jesus Name, Amen
Happy Thanksgiving friends! I am thankful for you and I pray you have an amazing holiday covered by God’s overflowing grace to love others well!
With much love and grace,
P.S. If God is working on you like He is me, and this post both pricked your heart as well as encouraged it-maybe you will enjoy We All Tell Stores – Our Lives Speak too.