It would seem that I am not the only one to whom Papa God has been speaking to concerning our walking in His love! Yesterday one of the Pastors was sharing how he was watching an interview recently when one of the individuals on the program commented with great sarcasm, “Oh, for the love of Christ!” What was interesting to me though, was the way the Pastor responded to it. He said that instead of getting upset like he normally would, he simply began to think about the love of Christ and what it really means to you and me!
He commented that it was a line of thought that he just could not shake, but found himself continually meditating on throughout the days that followed. One of his points throughout the ensuing sermon that really caught my attention was the fact that Christ’s love isn’t about what we deserve, but about what we’ve been given, and he kept coming back to Jesus’ reasoning for why He came to the earth in the first place declaring: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV)
That good word brought back to mind many of the points that I’ve been learning about and sharing in my last few blog posts. I kept thinking about how Christian love is a living, breathing, action-filled combination of His Love + His Grace. It is Love that is empowered by His Grace… thus… it is not something that any of us deserve, but what He has given to us… and expects us to do the same toward others! It is a lifestyle of our words and actions that are filtered through His grace before we say or do anything!
The Pastor gave the example of a time he was walking downtown and he observed a man standing on the sidewalk sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. The only problem though, was that in his presentation he was condemning everyone who walked by with his fear-filled and angry words. It finally got to the point where he got into a physical altercation with another individual who didn’t take too kindly to his discouraging and rather threatening words!
That example reminded me of the many individuals I have known over the years who “tell it like it is!” Then after they offend someone they shrug it off saying: “Well, that’s just who I am… and there’s nothing I can do about it!” I’ve been on the other end of some of those “tell it like it is” comments, especially when going through the trauma of my wife’s situation and I can honestly say that I don’t believe that those words were part of a lifestyle of words and actions that are filtered through God’s love and grace.
I believe that God in His great love for each of us, has given us the power and wisdom of His grace to stop and think (and pray) for a moment BEFORE we open our mouths! That split second pause could be the difference between offense/hurt or blessing to the one we are in conversation with. I firmly believe (as I have witnessed many times in my own response to others in both sacred ministry and secular management) that God’s Love + Grace causes us to hold our tongues!
I once had a manager give me the nick name of “The Lawyer” while in the midst of high tension meetings with the personnel department concerning the outcome of an employee’s work related indiscretions. I may not have the quickest come-back in the world, but I always endeavor to think and pray through my thoughts and options. As much as possible, I want my words to be God’s words of love and grace… and not my opinionated ramblings!
So… is this lifestyle easy? NO! Does it ever end? NO! Does it get easier? I believe it does! But like I said last week… it takes W-O-R-K… and an ever-increasing, personal and intimate knowledge of Christ’s love for you and me! (See: Ephesians 3:19) Is it worth the effort? YES!
When is the best time to start this lifestyle? RIGHT NOW!
So… give it a go and be the blessing you are called to be to those you come in contact with on a daily basis! Have a great new week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose LOVE and GRACE am I expecting to emulate today?