No Greater Love

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.  You are My friends if you do what I command you.  ~ John 15:13-14

Jesus said we have no greater love than to sacrifice ourselves for our friends. Sometimes this looks a lot like not keeping record of wrongs and keeping the door open for restoration.

No Greater Love

I love these verses but, oh wow, do they challenge me—laying down my life for my friends.

How much love  do I really have for others?

Am I willing to lay down my own best interests for someone else? Am I willing to put the needs of someone else ahead of my own? Am I willing to do whatever it takes to live in peace with someone? Am I willing to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry? Am I willing to forgive even before I’m asked?  Even if I’m never asked? Am I willing to set aside my own dreams and goals and desires in order to see someone else receive the opportunity to succeed?

Am I willing to sacrifice being right in order to be righteous?

Some seasons are hard, we feel the weight of the enemy’s attack..  People we love love and trust break our hearts. And in those moments, we learn lessons about human nature we’d rather not know. But even more challenging, we often learn some difficult lessons about our own nature.

It’s hard for me to trust that God will be my defense.  I want to scream out against those who have spoken ill of me. I want to say, “But that’s only half the story!” 

But, I’ve been on the other side too.  For several years, I gave someone control in my life she neither wanted nor needed.  I demanded that our relationship be on my terms and had unreasonable expectations.

How did she respond?  She accepted me.  Oh, she was honest when I’d hurt her.  She’d challenge my assumptions and my behaviors but never in a hostile way.  In spite of my unfairness, my hostility, my inaccurate and unfair understanding of her and her motivations, she was gracious and she was kind.

Ultimately, her gracious behavior allowed us to become friends. Friends who see the best in each other and encourage the other to grow. I never really thought it could happen. But it did.  I learned a valuable lesson from my friend—trust the Lord.  Make it easy for friendships to be healed and restored.  She never argued with me or forced me into a corner.  She kept the door open

I’m thankful she didn’t make it hard for me and thankful she didn’t keep a record of wrongs.

Having experienced such kindness, I want to extend it as well. To give people the space they need, to give grace and compassion, to be understanding, and to recognize the perspective time often gives in a situation.

 

What hard work is God doing in your life?

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