Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Calvary Love, 2

If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting "Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?" then I know nothing of Calvary love.

It is VERY easy for me to be critical. As I’ve said before…I naturally look at, expound on and emphasize the lack/bad rather than what is there…what is good. I am trying, with the Helper, to do better…to be more encouraging to those around me…to not try to play the Holy Spirit and trust the One who knows the hearts of men and is acquainted with all their ways to do the convicting and correcting. Yet there are times when I am put in a position to speak into the lives of those around me. I believe we are called to walk together, to bear each other’s burdens, to speak words of truth, to admonish, even, at times. That isn’t the issue, really…whether to speak or not…it is HOW and WHAT we speak. Too often I have found myself sharing my opinion…making logical arguments…and even harshly criticizing in the name of Christ. Looking back over those times, I have to confess that my motivation was not to restore anyone in love as much as it was to profess myself wise or somehow feel superior next to my estimation of their low estate. I think the true test of whether I am walking with others in Calvary Love…speaking and caring for them in a way that edifies them and glorifies the Lord is what I say or think when they aren’t around. I have to ask myself…do my private thoughts or conversations about this person or situation differ from what I say to the person in question or in public regarding this issue? Out of the mouth the heart speaks…it will and does come out. If I am making an effort to tenderly encourage a friend and then turn to another and give a critical and unloving analysis of their plight…I am not extending Calvary Love to that person…and chances are, they know it. I am made a liar before God and man. By His Grace, I am learning to push my assessments aside…to embrace the sovereignty and kindness of God…and trust that it is better to be silent if one can’t be completely honest. I’d rather say nothing than have to repent of pride and lying later. Because the truth of the matter is…for me to rant and rave over what I perceive to be error or a misstep in someone else’s life is for me to say “That could never be me…I would never do that or make that mistake!” And that is just not true. I am just as susceptible to deception as the next person…and when I am not deceived it is ALL of grace and NONE of me. I can also rest in the knowledge that the Lord does not allow us to fall down if He does not also intend to lift us back up…and use that to help keep us from falling later.

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