The other day my son and I had a brief argument. Well, not really. He walked into the room, got in my face and asked me something. I didn’t like how he got in my face or the attitude with which the words were flung at me, so without answering his question I asked my own question: “Why do you speak to me with such an attitude?”
“Because you speak to me with an attitude” was his reply. Ouch!
There’s some truth in his statement. The whole scenario got me thinking. I’ve been praying about how to change this dynamic for some time now. Yesterday, very clearly the Lord was revealing how I may be good about reading His Word, but I’m missing the part about applying it. Specifically regarding the following two verses:
Leviticus 19:18NKJV “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”
How interesting. Was I holding a grudge against me son? I think I was very resentful of how he was treating me. Father, forgive me. However, thinking about loving my neighbor as myself, made me wonder how would I want to be treated, if I were in my son’s shoes?
I’m sure you’ve heard the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would want to be treated. Well, there’s good reason for it. Look at what Matthew 7:2 NLT says: “For you will be treated as you treat others.” Therefore, I think I was speaking with attitude towards my son, perhaps mixed with anger and frustration (but we’ll save that for another story).
These verses were percolating in my mind, like a coffee pot brewing hot java. The next morning while driving my son to school I began to share with him what God had showed me regarding what transpired the night before. “When we love our neighbor, we are willing to do for them what we would want done for us. Truly loving someone means we’ll be intentional with our words. Rather than letting ourselves react to what someone says to us, we hold our tongue, wait and then purposefully respond out of love. This also means that we respond in love, regardless of whether the person speaking to us deserves to be treated nicely or not. We express love because God has loved us, when we don’t deserve it. It is our responsibility, as Christians, to show the same kind of love to those around us, even when they don’t deserve it. By doing so, we become witnesses of God’s grace, mercy and love. That’s what makes us different from the world. That example can draw others to God.”
This may seem like a no-brainer for some of you and it did to me. While I knew this before the scenario occurred, God brought me to a deeper understanding of this truth. It was a wonderful moment of Aha! Now, I really get it!
How about you? Are you loving your neighbor as yourself? Stop and take a moment to consider how you are treating people around you. Are you treating them how you would want to be treated? Or are you letting resentment creep in to color your response toward them?
Lord God Almighty, you alone deserve all praise, you alone deserve all love. Thank you, Lord for showing us the real way to love others as our self. Enable us to respond with loving intentions rather than out of an automatic reaction. In Jesus name Amen.
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