I open the Scriptures, irritated once again at other people. I’m hungry for a proven process to live in Christian community. But I’m equally disgusted by my perpetual need for instruction on how to love well. I’m ashamed of my inability to overlook another’s sin.
Just tell me what to do, God, and I’ll do it. Tell me how to do it, and I’ll try my hardest once again.
And I’m surprised. Instead of finding a plan, I’m reading a love story. Written to me.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God…” (I John 1:7)
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another…” (I John 1:11)
I pause, silently reflecting on the mystery of just one word. His name for me speaks volumes. Oh, how I want to be better, but He silences me first, reminding me I’m cherished.
And all the excuses I was ready to voice now seem unnecessary. His love for me calms the bitterness and resentment raging within. Instead of mapping out a process, He brings my focus to Him. He shows me my sin and His deep well of grace. And I realize how thirsty I am.
Beloved. Cherished one. I am a God of tenderness. I love you despite your own sin. The very characteristics that annoy you in others, well, you own them, too.
You resent those whose stress impacts you. You cringe at an anxious tone of voice. But, Beloved, you wear your own frustrations right there on your countenance, silently screaming at your family. Your sin makes your home an unsafe environment.
Look at how you’re cherished. See how I draw you to Me over and over and heal you from your worry. Ponder the forgiveness you receive from your husband, your son, your daughter everyday. Dig deep. Pull from that grace, My grace, and hold it out to others.
The cross is so big.
Cherished one, look into their eyes. Don’t bully them by ignoring them. You are loved. You are Mine. And with My help, you can make eye contact. With My help, you can engage. With My help, you can forgive.
Love them, just as you teach your children to pour out forgiveness on their classmates. Engage, just as you challenge your kids to pursue those who have hurt them.
I am with you as you navigate the pain and awkwardness. You see, it is only by My constant presence that you can love others well. It is in remembering my radical love for you, My child, that you can make others feel cherished.
Grace to you. There’s more than enough.