This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s Message: I Love my church…love in community (WATCH HERE).
Extra love opportunities.
Today in Georgetown, TX kids and teens are headed back to school for the 2023-24 school year. We certainly ask the Lord to bless and watch over them and their teachers and that those that are followers of Christ bear witness to his name and represent him will in the classrooms and hallways and athletic venues.
One of the challenges kids can have in going back to school is that not everyone treats them well and they don’t get along with everyone. We hear reports of bullying, shaming, or teasing that creates a challenge for the student to show up and be their best unless the issue is addressed.
The temptation when treated in an unloving way is to repay the evil for evil. It is very hard to show patience or kindness to someone who does not treat us well or speak well of us.
Perhaps at times, one just has to avoid the person and protect your own safety.
However, perhaps there are these type of people in our lives to practice the love that Jesus has shown to us.
I call them “Extra love opportunities.”
The thing is, they don’t just show up in our schools. They show up in our workplaces. They show up in our homes, and, yes, they show up in our churches.
It’s part of being in community with others who are not perfect and have a sinful nature. To be sure, I would love it if everyone could exhibit perfect patience and love at all times. But its just not going to happen.
The “easy” out is to step out of that situation or relationship and not lean into it. This can happen in any of these settings, including the church. How many individuals, perhaps including yourself, have you met that no longer go to church because of what was really or perceived as unloving…something someone said, did, or did not do.
In no way am I justifying or minimizing unloving behavior, but really those situations are not ones to step out of but rather step in to. The Bible encourages:
“…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
So, I hate to say this, but each of us is an opportunity for another person to practice this. In no way am I advocating that individuals should intentionally create “Extra Love Opportunities” with people around them. I am encouraging to lean into that relationship and seek to understand why the person did or said what they did. Often behind a cutting word, a mean look, or an unkind action is a hurt or situation they are reacting to…you just get to be on the receiving end of it.
To be in a church community is really a practicing place for us to put the love of Jesus into practice with those around us. Of any setting (work, school, home), your church is a primary place to receive AND show the love of Jesus to the people around you.
So let’s be patient with one another. Bear with one another in love.
The better you get at your church, the better you will get at school, at work, at home!
Apply: Who in your life is an “extra love opportunity”? What might be a kind word or action that would show patience and love to them?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my heart to be filled with your love so I might show that love to others. AMEN.