Thursday, August 30, 2012

Love 'Em Anyway

One summer I was serving with a short-term mission team, and as you know whenever people live and work together for any length of time conflict will arise. Well, I must confess that I was struggling to love one of my teammates. I knew I needed help to do this. I remembered that I had a Joyce Meyer book at home, on the other side of the world, which would give me all the advice I needed. Since I couldn’t get the book off the shelf, I resorted to the Bible. What a novel idea?! I turned to 1 Corinthians 13 to read the love chapter, which is much shorter than Mrs. Meyer’s book. The truth is all the advice I needed was contained in these 4 verses, I just needed to apply them to my situation. If I’m honest with myself and with you, reading the book would make me feel so much better because I would be gaining knowledge as I procrastinated loving my teammate.  I had to dig in and do what God said.

Love endures long and is patient and kind

I had to be patient.

I had to be kind even if I did not feel I was receiving kindness.

Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking

I couldn’t insist on my own way. What?!! Really, I can’t do that? But…but…

it is not touchy or fretful or resentful;

I couldn’t be irritable or resentful. I had to stop grumbling about all the wrong actions I felt this person was doing.

it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

Actually, I had to not pay attention to any wrongs against me. Now how am I to do that?

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

I had to believe that best about this person. I could not allow my hurt to cause me to believe that the person has ill motivations towards me or that he is intentionally hurting me.

I had to endure with him as he grew with the Lord.

So what do you do when someone hurts you, when they don’t meet your expectations, or lets you down? You love ‘em anyway. It is less about the other person’s actions and more about your response to the person. God will take care of the other person as he sees fit, not as you or I see fit. What God does want from us is to be obedient to his command to love others as Jesus loves others. As Jesus loves me. As Jesus loves you.

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