Saturday, January 19, 2013
I have read part of the account of man named Bob Jones, who reported that he had died, and he had gone to Heaven, and God had sent him back. But while he was in Heaven, or i guess, on the path to be let in to Heaven, he reported that he saw Jesus ask each person one thing: "Did you learn to love?"
In the past couple of weeks, i have been noticing myself and how i find it difficult to love certain people. I should rephrase. I have been specifically NOT loving certain people. It all came to a personal head for me, when i kind of let a customer have it, when he started kind of yelling at me over the phone. Now, i have a lot of excuses for that. And none of my co-workers blamed me in the least. Our office has bent over backwards to help this ungrateful so-n-so....he's so rude......i can't stand him......etc......etc......etc......
And yet my heart was pricked.
Jesus specifically told us to love our enemies and to pray for those who despitefully use us -- who mistreat us. (Luke 6:38 and Matthew 5:44). And the thing about praying is that it's very hard to sincerely pray for someone's benefit through a heart of spite.
So i prayed. Not exactly for the ungrateful so-n-so, but that God would help me to love the ungrateful so-n-so.
Then, yesterday, i got a call from another person who gets under my professional skin like a tick on a dog in the woods. And i was pretty proud of myself when i reached out and grabbed my temper before it got away from me when she accused my office of having no ability to our jobs that we work so hard to do. O.k. that's not exactly what she said....just what i heard. In any event. I didn't tell her off. And when i talked with her for the third time that day, i had managed my temper down to sweet tones of benevolent niceties. If there is such a thing.
This, for the record, was really an exercise in self-control, not in love.
Love, sees past the outer exterior and loves the person who God made, feels compassion for that person, and seeks the very best interests of that person. What i was doing was loving myself. But i was feeling pretty good about it anyway.
The grand finale of the day was when it came time for me to call back Ungrateful So-n-so to let him know that there had been no progress on his situation that i have no control over. I told my friend and co-worker that i was going to be so nice to Ungrateful So-n-so that i was going to make him feel bad....which, for the record, is loosely scriptural (see Proverbs 15:1).
So i called him back, and after i had spoken with kind words and dripping sweetness, and Ungrateful So-n-so had softened slightly and threatened to sue, and i had not yelled at him or called him a name and sincerely told him that i was sorry for his trouble, i got off the phone and bragged to my friends about how nice i had been to him, coupled in the same breath with how much i sincerely disliked him.
And my heart pricked me again. That can't be love.
So i have to repent again. Self control is good. But love is the goal. And self-control that comes from love (instead of self-preservation) is much better. Lord, please teach me to love the people who don't love me back. It must be heart thing.
Posted by Beth at 10:52 AM