Monday, September 14, 2009

Learning to love...

I am a pretty easy person to get along with. Being a people pleaser by nature, or I should say birth, since I seem to come from a family of them, I pretty much come across as quiet, non judgemental or confrontational. Unless the mama bear in me wants to growl a little or I'm sitting in the underdog's cheering section. In other words, I am known to be an open and loving person.

Since we are friends here, I feel I must tell the truth. I can be a hypocrite at times. Yes, you heard me right. I am a HYPOCRITE!!!

I may know most of the right answers, church raised girl that I am, but I don't always make the right decisions. I may act like I'm living God's will, but I can wrestle with God, better than anyone. I may teach others the way, but walk a whole different direction sometimes. I'm just thankful that I serve a God full of grace, that is willing to reign me in when need be. Boy did He reign me in this weekend!

I've been dealing with a situation lately. Her name for this post is "Angry." This person is in my world. I like her. Yet, she is so full of anger, it seeps out daily and splatters everyone with it's venom. Have you ever met someone who holds grudges for a lifetime, has a gutter mouth, is selfish to the core and seems to have no joy in their life? Meet my friend Angry. Oh, she knows right from wrong. She will be in church on occasion. She can be a loyal friend, great mom and hard worker... yet, she can get on my nerves better than anyone. Have anyone in your world like that?

Now, I know the right answers. I know I'm to be the light in this situation. I know that I'm to be an example of patience, kindness, and everything else good and holy. And 75% of the time I think I am...or at least I ACT like I am. I am very good at "playing nice" when inside I want to shout "SELFISH!", "GROW UP!!!", and a few unmentionables... everyday I pray for this person to MY life would be made easier. (But hey, I'm not selfish!)

Fast forward to yesterday. I have had the stomach virus all weekend. Which, I'm thankful it wasn't the flu, like hubby, but I have still been miserable. Worst part? Missing church. I look forward to a little praise and worship on Sunday mornings. So, as the family left out the door, I grabbed a book I had found at a flea market the other day. Nothing puts a smile on my face quicker than finding a treasure at 1/4 the cost. This is what I found for $3.00...
Love me some Max. Wow! Does he have the gift of words! It seems God can use him to speak on my level over and over. Yesterday would be no different.
I'm flipping through, reading when I came to the story of the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus. Love that story. Love the many songs based on that part of scripture. The whole message of that passage I think is so beautiful. So as I'm reading, I'm excited...
until God decides to slap me with a little love learning of His own. I realized that every time I had read this story before, I pictured myself as the woman crying at Jesus' feet for forgiveness... the reality check, was that God was telling me that I was Simon in the story and truly had much to learn. (Read Luke 7:36-39, 47)
"A person who is forgiven little, shows only little love..."
Max worded it so beautifully for us...
"Simon, doesn't realize he is thirsty. People like Simon don't need grace, they analyze it. they don't request mercy; they debate and prorate it. It wasn't that Simon couldn't be forgiven; he just never asks."
How many times do I Miss Church Goer, forget to ask for mercy for even the little things? How often do I take for granted the grace given to me freely? I may be the woman anointing Christ's feet occasionally, but how many times am I Simon?
Too many.
I guess you are asking what this all has to do with my friend Angry. The overall lesson was about loving. After realizing that I was acting like a Simon lately, I read further and was hit over the head and dragged through this little treasure paragraph...
"Could it be that the first step of love is not toward them but toward Him? Could it be that the secret to loving is receiving? You give love by first receiving it?"
Huh? I do love God. What is He trying to say?
"Many people tell us to love, only God gives us the power to do so."
Hmm... in other words, instead of my praying everyday for my friend to shape up or ship out of my life, so to speak, I need to shape up and start loving right! Instead of praying for her to change, I need to pray that my attitude will change and therefore help her. I need to ask for the strength to be genuine in my love giving and not "fake it' because I know it is the right thing to do. This hypocrite needs to take a reality check on her own life and how she expresses love, before judging someone who may not even know how to love or the true definition of it.
Love. It is a four letter word that holds such power. It holds a lot of promise too.
"We love, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
In a world full of greed, selfishness, anger and pride, it is hard not to get our toes stepped on daily. In fact I have many "angry" people that cross my path on a daily basis. The important thing is to try and remember this... when we feel like we have fallen short in the "love one another" department...
when it seems like a love "we cannot produce,"
may we be reminded of "a love we cannot resist -
God's love."
Happy Monday!


Gretchen said...

I know we all have "Angry" or EGR (extra grace requireds) in our lives. Takes supernatural strength, for sure. And we're not perfect at giving and receiving this love. But the Father is. And to this I say, Thank God!

Pilar said...

Can you believe I don´t think I have ever read a book by Max Lucado??? Yeah, I know, I love in a bubble ;) This one I need to check out :)!

Amber said...

I love me some Max, too. Good stuff.

I'll be praying for you. I'm with Gretchen...we all have Angrys in our lives, and you are so right.

It really isn't about them. It's about us. Totally.

Love you.

Loriann said...

thank you for sharing, I sometimes forget that I need to pray for God to change me, not for God to change them..... Love and prayers, Lori and girls

Heart2Heart said...


I too have a person in my life we will label as Angry only I am related to him. I see him as a sand paper person in my life.

The more I let him rub me the wrong way the more I hurt and the thinner I become.

However, like you said, if you reach out to them in love and compassion and prayer, then this sandpaper will smooth away those rough spots and edges in my life and make us more softer to handle.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Kendra Lee said...

I <3 Max too... haven't read that, but now I want to!

I struggle sometimes about not saying anything (people pleaser in me) or trying to "restore" a brother... but don't often say anything because a) I'm afraid I won't have, or it will come across as I don't have, the right spirit with which to restore... and b) I'm always worried that I'm sure there's a LOG in my own eye that I need to deal with... It confuses me because we are supposed to approach brothers and sisters, but at the same time not judge and do it with a gentle spirit... I have serious 'spirit check' issues ;/... But also, the LOVE thing comes in. You're absolutely right... we can only love because He has 1st loved us!! Thank you, God, that you love us so!!

Sharon@JoyInTheTruth said...

Mich, this is a great and meaty post. Thanks for sharing your heart so honestly.

I hope you are feeling 100% from the stomach virus and that your fam is 100% too!

He & Me + 3 said...

I love Max and have never seen that book. He always has great things to share. I need to learn to control me...because that is the only person I can control or change.

Anonymous said...

My dad is a lover of all things Max yet I don't think I'd ever seen that book.

This was a good word, Mich. The others were right, we'll always have difficult people in our lives. It's wonderful when God shows us the best way to respond to them.

christy rose said...

Wow Mich! What a great revelation you are sharing in this post. I think that so many times we take on the job of loving others rather than realize the only way that it is possible is if we are complete in the One that gives love to us in the first place. We have not ability to love on our own. It can only be accomplished through overflow of our relationship with God. What a wonderful thing to realize that God is not expecting us to do something for Him without equipping us first. He equips us with His unconditional love shed abroad in our hearts. Amen. Great Post!