Wednesday, November 30, 2016

1 John 3:15-24

1 John 3:15-24
Contemporary English Version (CEV)

 Before I was a parent, it was so easy to look at other parents and judge whether they were doing the right thing for their kids.  I knew exactly what the best ways to parent were.  Now?  Well, it's a little tougher when one kid is screaming that her legs fell off and can't walk down the stairs and the other is lying on the couch refusing to do anything you ask.  I'm not quite the expert I once thought I was.
  In the same way, the Bible often seems straightforward when we read it.  If you have everything you need, then you should make sure that other people have their needs met.  Simple, right?
  Well, once we start trying to live the Bible out in the real world, we really complicate it, right?  We start trying to determine what is a need versus a want and how we save for the future and emergencies and we wonder about the efficacy of giving to certain groups and people and whether it will really change things.  It gets really complicated, right?
  So what's the answer?
  The hardest thing for me is to dig down to the truly loving thing to do.  I've hardened my heart in a lot of ways to the needs of others, and so my first response is seldom one born out of love.  Often it's rooted in a desire to protect what I have or to avoid entangling myself in the situation of another.  Sometimes, I'm just afraid.  Other times I'm too busy judging someone else to really worry about myself.  I refuse to love them because they might not be worthy of my love, which means I'm failing to recognize the grace of the unconditional love God poured out on me, when I certainly didn't deserve it.
  So we have to pay attention to all the things our messed-up hearts are doing, and we have to pray for the Spirit to teach us how to love as Christ loved, without condition or fear, without holding back, because we are loved and should find our satisfaction in Christ alone.  May we trust him enough to love others selflessly, because we find our true selves in Christ.

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