Monday, November 16, 2009

Love is ...

One thing is axiomatic to Jesus’ disciples: in everything Jesus said He intended to promote God’s purposes, strengthen the relationship between God and His people, and among His people, and draw people to unite with His community. What He encouraged led to building, enhancing and promoting these things. What He encouraged led to wholeness, integrity and authentic living.

How can someone rejoice when people experience misery and alienation? We rejoice when God’s truth is applied and people experience peace, growth, rest and health.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Love is ...

Coming into contact with other human beings inevitably leads to periodic collisions. How we handle the collisions is related to how we view the ones we collide with.

What were their intentions? What am I hanging onto? What is more important: this person? This relationship? My feelings?

To Jesus (falsely accused, illegally executed), the people and the relationships were more important than His suffering. If we have the attitude of Jesus, all reminders of these collisions will be dismantled bit by bit until any suspicion of their existence can only be a matter of speculation.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Love is ...

There are numerous things that get under people’s skin: aggressive driving, tail gating, negativity, whining, frustrated expectations, or misunderstandings. Being sick or tired can make little things grow very big.

And these can light a short fuse with people – either because they are the cause or because they are in the area. Often our focus is glued to an issue, and we respond to the issue with people getting damaged incidentally.

Are people reckless, trouble-makers, or selfish? Are they afraid of losing their job by being late again? Or do they feel like no one listens to them, or takes them seriously? Or maybe they don’t understand?

Usually, we cannot control the causes of irritation, but we can control our responses to people. The response God desires is a longer fuse and extending grace.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Love is ...

Sometimes, it seems like people have an internal need to reveal themselves to others. We need to be known. It is part of our need for community. We hope that when we open our hearts, someone will listen. Someone listening affirms who we are. It affirms our acceptance and worth.

(People don’t open up, because they are unsure how they will be received. Maybe they will be rejected. Maybe the contents of their hearts will be mocked and ridiculed.)

We all know people who only seem to be able to talk about themselves. Any event is interpreted solely by its relationship to them.

(Are these people convinced they are the only ones with worth? Or are they convinced of their worthlessness, and are continually seeking someone to listen, and thereby let them know they are wrong?)

There are people are encouragers. Their focus is not themselves, but out to other people and how they may able to affirm who they are in their hearts. There are people who are servants. Not only is their focus outward, but they are alert for needs … and consider ways and means for meeting them.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Love is ...

In every society, people come to agreement about the basic patterns of conduct toward other people. In the West, these practices are called “common courtesy.” They apply to family, friends, acquaintances, strangers and visitors.

Keeping these practices is important. Because they are applied indiscriminately to everyone, it puts everyone on equal footing. Everyone is treated equally, so everyone is perceived equally. If they are perceived as equal, they are equal.

Respect, acceptance and honor are shown with these practices. Disregard, rejection and dishonor are shown when refusing to keep these practices.