Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bearing With One Another

Ok, I have just returned from an incredibly convicting Bible Study. I did not have a pen and paper with me and I am terribly disappointed because I would have liked to write many of the scriptures down. With my "mom brain", I have a really terrible memory, so here goes what I can remember. The lesson was on the parallel between our relationship with God and our relationships with people. The speaker was focused on the fact that the Lord expects us to love one another as He loves us. That the greatest commandment is to "love the Lord your God with all our heart, soul and mind. And the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself" Matt22: 37-39. I am not sure that in all the times I have heard this or read it if I ever caught the part that says, "and the second is like it". Meaning: The second is as important as the first. They go hand in hand. You can't truly have one without the other. He went on to talk about how often we pour our efforts into our relationships with God while letting our relationships with people suffer. 1 John 16-17 in the Message reads, "This is how we have come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see a brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear." While I think a little may be lost in this translation, those last 2 lines are powerful. God's love never disappears, it is unconditional and ever-present. But, how many times has someone lost their vision of what God's love is because of my lack of commitment to loving them?

In the past year I have struggled with some relationships in my life because of sheer frustration. These people are difficult to love. They are dishonest, discouraging and often pulling others down. I have created distance and spent way too much time talking about how frustrating they are. Tonight I see clearly. God asks me to love them as He loves me. How many times He has been frustrated by my behavior. How many times He must look at me and shake His head at my discouraging disposition. Tonight it is clear. God will never give up on them. He will never be so frustrated that He stops trying to deepen the relationship. In fact, He knows that these are the times that He needs to pursue them even more. I want that. I want to be committed to loving others as He loves me. I want them to know I am a follower of Jesus by my love. My christianity has been brought into question by one of these people. I have been annoyed by that because, I believe, the reason clearly had nothing to do with my relationship with Christ. But, tonight, I feel as though I should take that comment as a lesson that my love is not clear.

So, tonight, I pray Eph 4:2, "Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love." He wouldn't have chosen the phrase, "bearing with one another" if it was going to be easy.


Amazing Racer said...

Still chewing this one. It's a tough dish you just served. Thanks for be honest, even when I don't want to hear it.