Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Love is Kind

Random acts of kindness have been popularized lately with such movies as “Pay it Forward.” Some insurance companies have caught on the trend, but acts of kindness are the very nature of God. We are created in God's image, we posses this wonderful trait, even if we don't exhibit it in its original form.

We may not consider kindness a trait of love, but it is defined as: friendly, gentle; warm-hearted nature; exhibiting sympathy and generosity. Being patterned after God, whose very nature is kindness.

Kindness is a special power, even those who feel powerless possess this great power. With one word or action, we have an enormous amount influence on another person.

Working with the general public, I have seen this power in action. If I have encountered a person whose countenance is weary or angered, a smile or gentleness can improve their attitude. I have the power to change the course of their day. We all have that power if we chose to use it.

I've felt a special sense of joy whenever I've helped defuse anger in someone's life, or gotten out of myself to come to their aid, doing the unexpected. Kindness is a form of humility. 

Proverbs say “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

It only takes a smile, wink or sometimes a friendly word to stop fury in its path. It just takes a moment of my time to notice someone's plight. On the other hand, we also have the power to ruin someone's day by an uncaring word or action. 

If I encounter someone who is in a nasty mood, it can effect my mood as well. I can be enjoying a wonderful day and encounter a clerk who hates their job, as if daggers were thrown my way, I feel provoked.

“People with hate in their hearts may sound pleasant enough, but don't believe them. Though they pretend to be kind, their hearts are full of all kinds of evil” (Proverbs 26:24-25 NLT)

In those times is when I need to use wisdom and respond with kindness, not paying unkindness with unkindness.

We can show this love in a number of ways and have numerous opportunities everyday to everyone we encounter. Taking note of another's disposition can greatly effect the outcome of events. 

When we respond to situations with kindness, we show that we are truly children of God. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Copyright©2011 – tathorpe- All Rights Reserved-

Friday, February 4, 2011

Love is Patient

When reading 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, the love chapter, the first thing we encounter about the nature of true love is that it is Patient. Funny if I were to write what love is, I would begin somewhere around: Love is good and nice, patient would not be my first thought. Since God chose to inspire Paul to write this portion of scripture and point out the true nature of love, let's consider what it means.

Patient as defined in the dictionary: “Capable of bearing affliction calmly; Understanding; tolerant; Persevering: constant; Capable of bearing delay; Capable of enduring inconveniences or hardships without complaint” (Webster's II New College Dictionary- Copyright©1995 Houghton-Mifflin Company USA). 

By nature, I am impatient. I want it and I want it now. Suffering; Enduring hardships; Persevering are not my idea of love, but punishment. Why is that such a hard concept to understand? Because of our sin nature and growing up in a fallen world, we haven't understood real love.

We think of love as that warm fuzzy, heart stopping phenomenon; giving pleasure and receiving pleasure from someone; feeling good all the time. If those things don't happen, then we believe it's not love.

According our understanding of love, it falls under the category “Eros” passionate love and “Philia” friendly love, but God says the true nature of love is His kind; “Agape” selfless, sacrificial, unconditional, forever enduring through all circumstances. I think it's interesting that patience is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22).

From before eternity, Agape is the nature of God. We see it described in Genesis, through the Cross and to our changed lives, living and growing in Jesus Christ. How have we missed that? I believe that God knows and sees the full extent of people's lives, from before they were born. He has a plan for each life and patiently waits for just the right time when they turn to Him. 

From the fall in the Garden to moment you accepted Jesus blood payment for your sins, God has waited patiently, enduring hardship, capable of bearing delay, enduring inconveniences, because He knows the plans he has for you. (Jeremiah 29:11) and waited for that day, when you came seeking him and found him, when you sought him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:12-14).

When we endure hardships and set backs in our life, when we know that we are following, seeking and depending on the Lord, We sometimes forget about this aspect of love, being capable of enduring hardships and inconveniences without complaint. As we wait on the Lord He will give new power to those who are tired and worn, He will renew our strength. (Isaiah 40:29-30). I can hear the Lord say, “Hold on, I'm coming!” can you?

“Looking on to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the Joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12: 2-3 NKJV)

God has expressed His love for us through His patience with us.

Love is patient!!

Copyright©2011 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-