Recently, there seem to have been so many events on Facebook that have stirred irritation and discussion that seems increasingly full of vitriol.
My children helped me put it all in perspective and said, “You don’t have to participate in these discussions mom.” Yes, it’s true. But why is it so difficult for people to be polite in discussions. Does everything have to fall along political lines…even when they have nothing to do with politics?
I’m also thinking I need to unfriend people that constantly bug me on my own page. When my kids brought up that concept, it sounded good to me…I know, it takes me awhile to catch on to the subtleties of social media. What can I say?
NOW TO MY POINT!
Anyway, in my uneasiness over some of the discussions and my thinking about forgiveness and acceptance of others and in what contexts that happens, this Scripture came to mind today.
According to the riches of His glory…no limit there!
He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being…again, no limit to the resource. His Spirit will strengthen us inwardly.
It goes on to remind us that as this process of Christ dwelling in us by faith, strengthening our “inner being,” rooting and grounding us in love, we will have the strength to the full height, depth, breadth and depth of the love of Christ!
It is something beyond human understanding…but as we grow in these parts of knowing GOD and His love, we will come to know understand His love.
Part of this process involves knowing and understanding the love of GOD for us and then living it out in our relationships to others all around us.
Learning to love other people like Jesus loves us? It starts by being changed from the inside by Him! By getting to know what the love of Christ is in down-to-earth ways.
How do we love people who are different from us in ways that are irritating, even abhorrent?
How do we love people who don’t love us well? Who are abusive in the ways they talk to us? I’m not talking about the wise setting of boundaries, I’m talking about loving them.
One clue we get is how Jesus treated one of His worst enemies at the Last Supper. He washed his feet! Yes, Judas, along with all the other disciples, was there. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that the disciples knew Judas was the one because in one of the passages…I think it is in Luke, they all ask Jesus if they are the ones who will deny Jesus. Imagine Jesus washing Judas’ feet when all the time He knew Judas had betrayed Him! Wow!
Philippians 2:5-11 is another passage that talks about the love of Christ that I find to be very convicting. Jesus was GOD, but didn’t grasp His privilege. Instead He took on Himself human flesh and became obedient to death, death on a cross!
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
As I read these passages, I get a glimmer of understanding regarding the meaning of love toward the people mentioned. My personal self image is really not important here. What my feelings are isn’t important either. They play a role of course, but this kind of love isn’t based on warm feelings. It is an act of the will. It is volitional.
That kind of love is foreign to those of us in the U.S. who have grown up reading novels and watching movies. Even taking on the poor or the ___ (fill in your underprivileged or oppressed group here) can often be more of a project we want to do to “fix them” rather than finding a way to love them as individuals who are made in GOD’s image just like we are.
May GOD give us wisdom and grace from His bountiful resources or His riches. There is no end to them. They will never run out! We cannot naturally love some people. It is totally impossible naturally. But GOD can give the desire to love others…one at a time here and there as He brings them to us or moves us out into their world.
How is He teaching you to love others you wouldn’t normally love?
How has He stretched you to relate to people you might not normally have even talked to much less gotten to know?
How is He pushing you to move outside your comfort zone?
How is He changing your inner being to develop the love inside you for Him and other people?