Wednesday, October 3, 2012

God's Reality About Our Hearts

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV)

I was praying about what to write for this month’s message.  As I was preparing to write I was reminded of several situations that have happened in the last few weeks.  I have had several situations were individuals have been disrespectful, yet I had to choose not to respond emotionally.  I was the one in authority so I could have easily snapped at these individuals, but I chose not to do that.

In years past, it was difficult for me to let go of things done or said to me.  I would forgive, but I was not going to set myself up for that person to attack me again.  Hurt me and that was the end for you and me.  God has placed me in some areas that are stretching me in this area, because I know He wants me to grow where heart matters are concerned.

Just yesterday I had someone disrespect me and my alter ego “Denise” was ready to tell this person off.  Yet, instead I found myself praying for this person that God would change them and help them to truly see who they are and not who they think.

So when I went searching for a scripture to use, this one simply jumped out at me.  I especially like the part where it states this about love, “it does not dishonor others.”  I was thankful to read this because I had the opportunity to snap back at a person that snapped at me in public, except I refused to dishonor or disrespect them, so I talked to this person offline out of the eye shot of others.  If we want to understand God’s reality about our hearts we must understand that God wants us to take great care not to disrespect each other.  It doesn’t matter our roles or positions.  We are all called to respect one another.  This is true even when the other person did not follow this mandate.  The call to respect others is not based on what they do, but what I chose to do.

The second part of this scripture that resonates with me about love is, “it keeps no record of wrongs.” This can be difficult to accomplish even on our best days.  I will be honest, what happened on yesterday still is bothering me, but I am confidence that I will overcome this wrong.  I will let go of the disrespect and be able to simply be myself.  This is the key, when we hold on to the wrong done us; it really has a hold on us.  If we keep re-thinking on the things done against us we will find ourselves troubled in our minds and uncomfortable in our relations.  Therefore it is imperative for us to let go of the wrong.  We can ask God to help us and in time we will see ourselves free from those wrongs.

Another key point about love is “it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered.”  When we chose to love, we must turn our focus off ourselves.  Using the example of the person that disrespected me, I could easily get caught up in what was done and allow the anger to grow.  If I am not careful I would begin to seek my own restitution in this situation.  I could use my authority and power to make this person pay.  This is not love.  God’s reality for my situation is to love this person enough to see their need for God to humble their heart even if they don’t see their need.  God’s love dictates to me that I must seek what is best for this person.  The first thing is not to allow myself to become angered at the things this person does.  I have to be what the scripture starts out stating about love, “Love is patient, love is kind.”

God’s reality about my heart is He requires me to love in all situations and in all conditions.  He requires me to be kind to those that do not deserve my kindness.  Why? The truth is God’s love is shown to me and I do not deserve it.  I was not loveable yet God chose to love me.  I was not kind but kindness was freely given to me.

So today I want to encourage each of us no matter what our situations are to choose to love.  God’s reality about our hearts is He desires to use us in the difficult situations we find ourselves in.  Has someone hurt you so bad that you can’t even bare it?  It is probably even more difficult when those hurting you are your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Are you struggling to get over the hurt?  Have you pulled yourself away because you are determined this individual (or individuals) is not going to hurt you anymore?  Has the anger lingered so long that you find yourself wishing bad things would happen to this person?  Or have you sought your own ways to hurt them?

I want to encourage you to follow God’s plan for your heart.  Ask Him to help you until you sense the release of the hurt from your heart.  Seek what is best for the person by asking God to work on their hearts as well.  And as you seek God for help in this matter, remember this about love “It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”  When we see God show up in our situations and make a change, we do not have to be envious of how God will work in the lives of those that hurt us and we will refrain from boosting that God did it because of us.

This is God’s reality for our hearts…
Written by: Rev. Jewel D. Williams