Devotions this week based on Sunday’s Message: The Difficulty of Love! (LISTEN HERE)
Good morning. My apologies for missing a post yesterday. I was focused on preparing for Ash Wednesday worship and forgot to post a devotion for Thursday morning. As a trade, here is the link to the Ash Wednesday worship. Enjoy listening to a message on Jonah 3 as the people of Nineveh heard the word of the Lord and repented and in response the Lord relented from the destruction he threatened. There are some wonderful parallels to Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.
CLICK HERE for the Ash Wednesday video.
To wrap up the week, let’s just acknowledge that love is difficult especially when others are being difficult.
Even when we look to our Savior Jesus and marvel at his love for us, we have our sinful nature that is constantly encouraging us not to love those around us, especially those that have wronged us or hurt us.
So what is the answer?
When love is difficult I must look back to the love of Jesus and draw on how he has loved me.
When love is difficult I must look inside and realize the spiritual battle I am waging.
But here’s also a few things I have found help to love when it is difficult. Granted, not all of these will work in every situation, but perhaps you will find one or two helpful to help you love, even when it is difficult.
- Be curious. We naturally respond to what we see and hear. We respond through our perceptions, our experiences, and our templates. This means that sometimes we don’t interpret the actions of another person accurately. So instead of allowing a reaction that is unloving, suspend that reaction and instead ask a question to better understand the other person. This does not negate that what happened potentially was wrong and hurtful. Often times “hurt people, hurt people.” Actions against someone often come from a place of hurt. (I am not a professional, but here’s some that have worked…please share your questions that help diffuse a situation.)
- What you did came across as very hurtful, help me understand what is going on for you since you don’t usually respond that way?
- You seem really worked up, frustrated, angry. Is there something I can help with? Do you want to talk about it?
- Be first. This is very hard. But someone has to break the pattern of lack of love, by loving. Especially in a marriage where you have pledged to spend life together, be the first to back down. Be the first to apologize (whether it is 99% your fault or 1% your fault). Be the first to lower the tone. Realize that your spouse is a loved child of God and you get to be the love of Jesus to him or her.
- Be cautious. Loving others doesn’t mean to put yourself, unnecessarily, in harm’s way. It is not always easy to discern what the loving thing to do is. When your default is to love, pray for discernment as to how to love in a way that truly will be a blessing to the other person, not just enabling a behavior or addiction that is harmful.
- Put the best construction on things. Especially in the family of believers, trust that a brother or sister, while they may have a different perspective and they may not have acted in a very loving way, has the love of Jesus and his kingdom in mind. It’s not always easy, but see the best first rather than defaulting to the worst.
- Decide to love. Before a situation occurs, make it, with God’s help, your default to love the people around you. The temptation is to hate or hurt back, ask God to always default to love back.
I’m sure there are more. The more you ponder how Jesus has loved you, the more ways we find to love the difficult. Always default to Jesus’ love!
Ephesians 5:1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Apply: What ways have you found to love even when it is difficult?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. Help me to love others, even when I find it difficult. AMEN.