If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20 AKJV
How many times has someone gotten under your skin? How many times have you secretly cursed the day someone was born–okay maybe that is is a bit much haha. But really if you are human, you have experienced a day when someone has pushed your buttons beyond the norm and you wanted to lay hands on them, and not with the intent to deliver them. I have had my share of these experiences and it seems more than enough of them have been occurring since I moved here. These people are rude! Not like my people in SC and GA.
But I had two situations in particular where I have had to be a true demonstrator of the character of Jesus to those who have been more than uncouth. What do you do in these situations? How do you react?
Well one situation, I did not react in the best way. I wasn’t rude–thank God. There was a person with whom I was acquainted. I asked their opinion of something and disagreed with their opinions. The person rebutted every single comment I made, all because I disagreed with them. After I realized I invested a whole two hours of my day into a stupid conversation, I immediately decided to never speak to that person again. I even told our mutual friend and my friends about how much they had upset me. Then a week later, about a week and a half after the disagreements, I was laying in the bed and I had just prayed. It was revealed to me how I had missed an opportunity to show this person the love of God. I reacted out of my feelings and in my need to protect them, just stopped replying to any further messages and had decided I would ignore any further attempts to talk to me. I prayed at that moment for forgiveness, and I asked God to help me not miss any more opportunities to show Him to others. I asked God to show me how to be loving to people that angered me, hurt me or pushed me to the point of acting out of character. Of course God answered, and had that same person to contact me again about something else. Of course now I know that was a test, and I promised that I would do whatever I could to allow God’s love to shine through me. Little did I know I would have the biggest test of my life in this area with my supervisor.
Everyday we are faced with chances to give someone who hurt us grace. Now, I am not saying put yourself in a situation where someone can intentionally hurt you. No, that would be foolish. But be willing to seek God on how you are to respond to others. Our goal in life is to be God’s witness here on the earth. A painful truth I realized is that the salvation of others is more important than how we feel. That person that hurt your feelings or was rude to you–their salvation is more important that your feelings. That person that cut you in the line–their salvation is more important than your feelings. How many times have you ‘kept it real’ and showed someone you instead of God? Every encounter is an opportunity to demonstrate the love of God, even to the most loathsome person.
It is not an overnight process, trust me! I still struggle with it. I am a crier, even when I get angry so I have shed many a tear about this kind of stuff. How can I be loving to someone who I feel doesn’t deserve to be in the same room with me breathing the same air I am breathing? I’m sorry, that’s mean haha. But what do you do? You trust God. You call on God for the strength to do it. Smile anyway. Laugh anyway. Show them God!
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12 NIV