Much of our behavior is centered around self-protection. When someone sins against us we often act like God was looking the other way or perhaps he was on coffee-break and missed the wrong done to us. For example:
A young child has his toy taken by an older sibling. He cries out to his parents.
A teenager lies to her mother. The mother informs her daughter that she can’t be trusted.
A friend says something really stupid. You react with shock and awe.
A co-worker takes credit for something you did. You look for a way to get even.
Your spouse is insensitive and hurtful. You withdraw and become discouraged.
You have a car accident the same day you learn you are not being promoted at work. Prayer and kindness to others drop to the bottom of your priorities.
These scenarios are typical and sadly, so are the responses. Jesus has called you and me not to be typical, but loving. When we love, we realize that God didn’t miss the wrong that happened in our lives. We realize that God provided exactly the right opportunity for us to show love to others and to him.
Look at the qualities of love expressed in I Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
When God is presumed to be on coffee-break, love does not follow. When you follow the path of self-protection rather than love relationships don’t get better but become more distant. But, when you realize that your ways are always in full view of the Lord (Proverbs 5:21 & Psalm 139:1-16) you know that God is always there to give you strength. This means you always can show love to those who may sin against you.
You can teach your child that they can return good for evil and be kind.
You can reach out to your daughter and get to the reasons for her lie and let her know that you can be trusted even when she is struggling.
You can be gracious when people say outrageous things.
You can model for your children what it means to return good for evil and leave room for God to repay.
You can show kindness and care to your insensitive spouse just as the Lord does to you when you sin against him.
You can show love and gratitude to Christ even when circumstances are challenging.
Praise God that he doesn’t take coffee-breaks. He is always there to help you show the love of Christ to the world around you.