Thursday, July 22, 2021

Loving People Unconditionally Means Looking At The Big Picture

Ephesians 4:30-32, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

The more time that we spend around other people, the more they will rub us the wrong way, as we them. The more time that we spend with humans, there will be conflicts because of our differences. We all think differently. We all have different personalities. 

Here's an example: I have an answering machine. I never answer my phone, I let the machine filter all my calls. So if you call me at 3 am in the morning, you won't wake me, because my answering machine gets the phone call. So years ago, when I lived on Guam, I called a man who built steel guitars in Tennessee. I was so excited about inquiring, that I called to leave him a message. I never expected for him to answer his phone at 3 am, BUT HE DID. Oh no! He wasn't too happy about it I would never want to wake somebody up at 3 am, God forbid. But in my thinking, since I always use an answering machine, I sincerely expected to get his answering machine. This is one example of how our differences in thinking can cause conflict.

As believers we are taught in the Bible to unconditionally love everyone, because God is love, and every believer has God living inside of them as the blessed Holy Spirit (1st Corinthians 3:16-17; Romans 8:9; 1st John 3:24). When people offend us, and hurt our feelings, and pick on us, and say hurtful things (both intentionally and unintentionally), we have to make a choice. We can either focus on their human inferiorities and retaliate against them with more mistreatment, or we can LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE and love them unconditionally, faults and all. That is how Jesus was able to say, “Father, forgive them” on the cross, concerning the wicked men who had just crucified Him (Luke 23:34). People will also crucify us, usually day by day, slowly, making our life miserable. We CAN love them, if we think LOVE toward them. By focusing on God's love for the world (John 3:16), and Christ's sacrifice for ungodly sinners (Romans 5:6-9), we can always take the higher road and love even the worst of people unconditionally (Jude 1:22).

I have had my feelings hurt more times than I can remember throughout my life. I have many painful memories engrained into my brain. I could become very bitter, and some Christians do, which is unfortunate. So what so I do? I take all those painful memories and I place them at Jesus' precious feet at the foot of the cross! I give them to the Lord, and hide in Him. Colossians 3:1-3, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

That is why Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. When someone hurts us, whether they be saved or unsaved, they have also done it to Jesus, and He feels and shares our pain (Hebrews 4:15-16). When people hurt me, and they always do in various ways, I choose not to focus on the offense with Horse Blinders and a magnifying glass. Instead, I chose to LOOK TO JESUS, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:3). 

Dear friend, if you will adopt this simple practical Bible truth, it will transform your life. I'm talking about living above the clouds of life, where the SON is always shining. Bring everything to the Lord in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7). Don't look at people with their quirks, faults and sins; but rather, LOOK TO JESUS at all times!!!

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