“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
“All extreme sensitivities, fastidiousness, suspicion, readiness ot take offense, and tenacity of what we think our due, come from self-love, as does the unworhty secret gratification we sometimes feel when another is humbled or mortified; the cold indifference, the harshness of our criticism, the unfairness and hastiness of our judgements, our bitterness towards those we dislike, and many other faults must more or less rise up before most mens’ conscience when they question…how far they do indeed love their neighbors as Christ has loved them. He will root out all dislikes and aversions, all readiness to take offense, all resentments, all bitterness, from the heart which is given up to His guidance. He will infuse His own tender love for mankind into HIs servan’ts mind, and them them to ‘love one another as Christ has loved you.’”
-Jean Nicolas Grou
COURAGE TO LOVE WELL.
Have you ever had a fastidious person in your life? A person that God appeared to want in your life? Fastidious is an interesting word. According to the dictionary it means, “excessively particular, critical, demanding or hard to please.” We all have had tendencies or areas we could be described such a way, but this is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a person who dwells there, day in and day out.
I believe it is the expression of a root of a certain kind of misery and inner pain. Jean Nicolas Grou describes it as an expression of self love. So what are we to do with own self love and the self love we experience in others?
God has a way of working His Wonder into our very hearts when he asks us to patiently endure, patiently and quietly love, patiently wait on Him.
Patience is hard. Patience requires a death of self will, wants and desires and requires us to elevate to a higher standard of excellence. Patience doesn’t mean becoming a door mat. But what patience does require is a gentle meeting of others right where they are at and seeing them through the eyes of God’s Grace and kindness. Finding merit in every soul. Having an open heart versus an offended heart. To become like Christ is to become patient with others in the same way Christ shows patience to you.
“O Lord, I will praise you; Though you were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and you comfort me.”
We can also flip forward in the Bible to the book of Romans. In chapter 5 we receive more instructions in love.
“For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justificaiton.” (v. 16)
“Moreover the law mattered that the offense might abound. but where sin abounded, grace abounded much more…”
So the next question is how do we do this?
Here are 3 keys to living peacefully with others:
Empathy is the ability to connect with the perspective of another, to meet them right where they are and see a situation or circumstance through their perspective, not your own. Empathy does not necessarily mean you agree with their perspective. It means you honor their persective, respect their perspective and greet their perspective with merit, grace and patience.
Compassion is having an open and soft heart. It’s hard to practice either empathy or compassion when we have a hard or cynical heart. Cynisicm is void of love. Compassion requires we respond in love, and you guessed it, patience.
Humility. Ah, humility. It’s a tough one to nail down because the second we believe we are being humble well, we are being prideful in our professed humility. I’ve observed that a truly humble person may be aware of their own abilities, gifts, talents, etc. but they also have a kind of “who cares” finesse to them. A humble person doesn’t boast. A humble person is a litte more focused on magnifying the greatness in others than they are in making sure we magnifiy or give greatness to them. We are all on a journey to deeper levels of humility. And before we all go making a mental list of all the prideful people we know, let us remember that most every form of sin has a root of pride. Even such things as fear and worry, anxiety…root of pride. How so? If we truly trusted God with situations, circumstances, people and outcomes we wouln’t try to fix things ourself in our own ability. We wouldn’t fret or show exaggerated concern. We would simply be still and know God is who he says he is and will do what he will do and will take care of you. Period. So, take comfort in His care.
I pray that in every arena you must contend with how you feel versus how God wants you to respond, you would experience an added measure of grace. That difficult person may just be in your life to help you grow in your ability to love patiently and completely. It will not only change your life, but it will positively impact others God brings to your life as you are greater in your capacity to practice a kind, patient care to meet them right there where they are. The fastidious may not change, but we can’t know the answer to that, it is in God’s care.
A simple playbook for life is described well in the words of Smith Wigglesworth;
"Divine life is full of divine appointment and equipping, and you cannot be filled with the power of God without a manifestation. It is my prayer that we would understand that to be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be filled with manifestation, the glory of the Lord being in the midst of us, manifesting His divine power.”
LORD, bless us with dauntless courage. To GO, DO and PURSUE the doors God has opened—Bless us, LORD, with steadfast ability to go where you want us to go, say what you want us to say, and do what you want us to do.
Because fear is a miserable reward, we will choose faith and wade into the waters deep. Amen.