Thursday, August 23, 2012
Welcome to Day 235 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Jeremiah 31:31, ““The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord. 33“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 32:42, ““This is what the Lord says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them.”
1 John 4:4, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
16 “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
How about this for a strong statement? “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.”
“For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
Have you noticed it’s easier to love some people? Others, not so easy…
These verses keep things in proper perspective. We can be a worshiper, pressing into God, vocal about our faith, going out, serving the community… say that we love God…
But if I hate my brother, the truth is not in me. (That is a broader use of “brother” than family/blood.)
Was talking with someone the other day about how it’s easy to love those not close to us. There’s no real investment or requirement to have to work through any issues. It’s when we get close to someone and begin to rub shoulders… or rub each other the wrong way… that’s where the rubber meets the road.
I always told my kids, “Hate is a very strong word.”
I hate broccoli.
I hate school.
I hate my life.
Hate is a very strong word…
Say, “I dislike broccoli.” or “I’m not crazy about broccoli.”
When we use the term “hate” in reference to another person, even internally, we are in trouble.
John says we can’t say we love God whom we have not seen, and hate our brother whom we have seen. It makes no sense and it’s not consistent.
If I really “hate” a person, I need to deal with it. We don’t have to be close to everyone, but we are called to love, not hate. If we hate, we are on a slippery slope.
How do I know if I really “hate” someone? When the sight of them makes daggers come out of my eyes… When anger starts to burn in my heart. When I avoid them at all costs. When I say to myself, “I hate that guy.”
I’m a pretty savvy Christian. I know what to say and not say. Better to say, “I love you.” Why? Because, “They will know we are Christians by our love for one another.”
But I want the real deal. I want genuine love, that’s based on relationship. I don’t like when people tell me they love me and they don’t even know me. That’s seems not very genuine. I think it makes them feel good about themselves because they feel like they are a more loving person.
Tell me you appreciate me. Tell me you like me! Tell me you think I’m a great guy! I can hear that. That goes deep. But an “I love you” from someone I have never had a meal with? (I think they are really saying all of the above, and that’s ok.)
But love comes with a cost. It’s easy to say, and not so easy to do.
If you say you love me, and we disagree on something, and you avoid me, that’s not love.
If you say you love me, and you start going to another church, and I never hear from you again, that’s not love.
If you say you love me, and you talk about me behind my back, that’s not love.
If you say you love me, can you overlook my shortcomings or my flaws?
Don’t pretend. Let’s keep it real.
Love works through issues, it doesn’t avoid them.
Yet, love isn’t petty… it doesn’t make mountains out of mole hills. It doesn’t keep score. (1 Corinthians 13)
Love is a choice… a commitment.
“Love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
Thank you Lord that you are love… thank you for pouring your love into our hearts! Help me to become a more loving person.