One of the beautiful aspects of having a first-love relationship with Christ is experiencing how it flows into my relationship with others – my husband, family, friends, etc. I’ve learned that the more I pursue Him, my attitude & behavior towards people change – for the better.
Honestly, it isn’t always a simple formula. I believe that some of us are more purposeful at this “love thy neighbor as thyself” than others. I wonder if God has gifted some with an extra measure of grace to extend. Or, maybe the measure is equally available and He allows us the liberty of dispense. It’s always easier to love those who are lovable. It’s when we encounter those difficult individuals that leave us searching for the understanding of Christ’s love.
I wrestle with the question….
How do I take this biblical principle and apply it to my current situation with this particular person?
It’s possible but how? The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and not willing.
It requires the power of God working within us to love and forgive as Christ does for us. If I consider what Christ has done for me over the years, then surely I can do the same for someone else, right?
Hasn’t God’s grace been sufficient for me? Yes, it has and I must keep that in mind regarding others.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that the frustration or pain isn’t justified or the behavior is condoned. It’s just a choice that I make because of the One who chose me. As a result, I experience God’s strength and peace to live free from the shackles of harbored bitterness.
I hear amazing stories of relationships improved, healed or restored because of God’s empowering love. But I’m also aware of those relationships that seem futile. Sometimes, people don’t share the same desire for a healthy relationship or they just aren’t in an emotional or spiritual state to receive it. Those instances may require me to take a slightly different position. I know that people can be hurtful and surely, God doesn’t expect me to become their emotional batting cage. So, it’s best to guard my heart by setting some boundaries and releasing peace for that particular relationship.
Although we’re admonished to love each other as Christ loves us, we frequently fall short. The constant war between the flesh and the spirit will always co-exist. To apply the kind of love described in scripture and reflective of God’s love towards us will require more than what we are capable or willing to do on our own. It requires the total power package of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Personally, I’m very grateful for growth in this area of my life. I feel the difference in my attitude regarding my relationships. I ask God to always remind me to see people through His eyes and not my own. That principle alone is challenging but rich in application.