Well this isn’t a very original topic for Valentine’s Day you may say. ‘Isn’t this just an annoying time of pushing a ‘Hallmark’ agenda on us all to feel guilty if we don’t buy flowers, cards and chocolate. And now I have to hear from one of my pastors…will she use scripture to rub it in how I haven’t met this high virtue, fallen short as a spouse, friend, co-worker or parent, get reminded of where I have failed?
Rest easy my friend, you are in the company of us all, myself included. As so often happens it is so much easier to see error in someone else then look inward at ourselves. We often go to great lengths to ‘justify’ our actions. We blame our poor behaviours on others, our circumstances, the weather, you name it.
So to make this personal I had a situation last week where I felt quite hurt. I was tempted to really nurture this hurt and do a nose dive by really feeling sorry for my innocent self. It was actually later that day that, believe it or not, I did the same thing to someone else. At first I, of course, justified my behaviour. I told myself that it was the other person who was making me act like I was. It was their problem. I was merely the victim rather than admit that I was in the wrong.
But I kept sensing the nudging of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t want to give in. I didn’t want to look at my own sin. But the Spirit wasn’t going anywhere even though I wanted to run away from any admission of wrongdoing on my part. As I very slowly cracked the door open into my heart the message was clear. ‘Aren’t you doing exactly the same thing that you were hurt by someone else doing to you?’ ‘Don’t judge others or you will be judged’ Jesus says. God, in His care and love for me was wanting me to come into His light which exposed my sin and set me free. I asked His forgiveness and I felt right away His love, mercy and peace come into my heart.
I wouldn’t say I’m done in this area but I am certainly in a better place than I was… and God is still crazy in love with me!
His truth about love is powerful and the greatest gift to us all.
Eugene Peterson says it so well in The Message Bible…
Love never gives up.
Love doesn’t care more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut.
Doesn’t have a swelled head.
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first”,
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
…we have three things to do…
trust steadily in God,
AND THE BEST OF THE THREE IS LOVE