I’ve been thinking and studying this idea of love. I have to say that I need to work on this area of my life. I think most people would say they can do a better job of loving others. But for most of us we don’t know what that looks like. I work at a church so what I look to in order to learn and grow is God’s Word. I was reading this today and it really struck me and challenged me. I hope it does the same for you. This is found in Romans 12:9-21 in the New Century Version of the Bible:
9 Your love must be real. Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good. 10 Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves. 11 Do not be lazy but work hard, serving the Lord with all your heart. 12 Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times. 13 Share with God’s people who need help. Bring strangers in need into your homes.
14 Wish good for those who harm you; wish them well and do not curse them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and be sad with those who are sad. 16 Live in peace with each other. Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant. Do not think how smart you are.
17 If someone does wrong to you, do not pay him back by doing wrong to him. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. 18 Do your best to live in peace with everyone. 19 My friends, do not try to punish others when they wrong you, but wait for God to punish them with his anger. It is written: “I will punish those who do wrong; I will repay them,”[a] says the Lord. 20 But you should do this:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him a drink.
Doing this will be like pouring burning coals on his head.” Proverbs 25:21–22
21 Do not let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good.
Just that first sentence, your love must be real is enough for me today. You can’t fake love.
Love is all about doing and taking action. It’s about how we think about ourselves, others and God. The best way we can worship God is by loving others well.
I’ve been thinking about grace lately. What does it mean to give someone grace? If your a follower of Christ, you’ve heard of God’s grace. Grace is giving someone something that they don’t deserve.
When the grace of God shapes our relationships, we respond to the sin and weakness of others with grace. So here are some questions to consider:
- Do you hold people to a higher standard than you hold yourself?
- Do you fail to overlook minor offenses?
- Do you spend more time catching people doing wrong than doing right?
- Are you better at criticizing than encouraging?
- Do people feel accepted and loved by you or criticized and judged?
- How do you tend to respond to the weaknesses, sins, and failures of those around you?
A grace mindset enables us to serve others out of a heart of compassion, gentleness, patience, kindness and love. The closer we get to people the more these attitudes are needed because the closer we get the more we experience their weaknesses and sins.
When grace is shaping our relationships it means we are ready, willing and able to forgive. Forgiveness starts with a transaction between God and us. It’s talking to him about the offense and entrusting that person and the offense to God. That prepares us for the interaction with the person that hurt us. On our own it is very difficult to truly forgive and let go of the hurt.
Grace also enables us to humbly ask for forgiveness as well. The truth is that we all hurt others from time to time and need to take responsibility for those actions or words. When we ask for forgiveness, we are admitting our responsibility for sin against others, without justification, excuse or blame. Being able to say something like this brings great healing: “I was wrong for saying __________. Please forgive me. I am sorry for the pain I caused you.”
- Grace enables us to make peace
- Grace enables us to speak the truth
- Grace enables us to serve others
- Grace enables us to grant forgiveness
- Grace enables us to learn to say no
- Grace enables us to recognize, develop and use the gifts and abilities God gave us.
Ask God to help you have more grace in your life, it can transform all your relationships and change your circumstances.