By Pam Otto
I cozied up in my morning chair, grabbed my cup of Joe, and started to read one of my favorite devotionals. Some mornings I find a little nugget that I want to remember, so I jot it down in my journal. Other mornings I find myself going through the motions without sensing any specific direction, thumbing through the Bible, hoping for something to jump off the pages. But… I always stand amazed at the moments when I am deeply moved by the Words of God, when the verses that I’ve read countless times seem to jump off the page and into my heart! What a great reminder that the Word of God is living, powerful and active! (Heb. 4:12)
Today I “happened” upon two very familiar verses that convicted my spirit and allowed me to see into some stuck places in my own life. Don’t you love the way that God knows each of us so deeply, so intimately that He is able to gently lead us to a new place?
I ran across 1 Corinthians 13:5 which says, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” Then I read Romans 8:1 which states, “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”This is when I had my ‘Aha’ moment, my personal nudge from God.
I know these verses. They are familiar and I’m in full agreement. But, my heart was telling me that knowing these verses looks different than living them out. If I want to truly love the way that God loves, I need to stop keeping a record of wrong, and that includes to stop silently condemning others in my heart. I mean, I typically don’t condemn people out-loud…that would simply be mean, right?
God was revealing to me that I need to put to death the idea that I am somehow the judge of another. He wants me to start loving those challenging relationships without keeping score, without remembering past hurts, without rehashing old wounds and without any condemnation. The love that I am to freely extend to others in those sticky places comes to me through the Holy Spirit. It’s not my imperfect, selfish love that needs to grow but the perfect, life-giving love of God that needs to increase and be on display in me and through me.
My desire is to put away my childish ways of loving others, and to invite the Love of God into each and every relationship and watch how God continues to reshape and reveal His perfect love through my imperfect heart. Since God does not condemn those who belong to Him, shouldn’t I do the same?
What about you? Are you loving those difficult, prickly people in your life well? Have you ever kept records of wrongs done in the past that you pull up from time to time and let simmer in the corners of your heart? Let’s invite God into those places and begin loving others more generously with transformed hearts.