But you are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and didnâ€™t forsake them. Â Â Â Nehemiah 9:17 (WEB)
I love the criminal investigation TV shows. I love the forensics and am â€œold schoolâ€ when it comes to stories. I like the good guys to wear white hats and the bad guys to wear black hats. In other words, I like the story to be clear on who is â€œgoodâ€ and who is â€œbadâ€. I want the criminal to end up in jail.
â€œBut I have rights!â€
Yes, criminals do have rights and usually get more than the victims do (or did).
God calls me to a higher standard. Not â€œwhat are my rights?â€ but â€œwhat is more loving?â€
Do I have the right to snap back at the sarcastic clerk in the store? Yes, but is it loving?
Do I have the right to pretend I do not hear you? Yes, but is it loving?
As I have been studying the kindness of Jesus this week, I did not think how being polite also goes with kindness. It does and Jesus is polite.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me. Â Â Â Â Revelation 3:20 (WEB)
Remember Jesus with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus? Our resurrected Lord and King did not presume that He was welcome to join the disciples for their evening meal and rest. Only when they urged Him did He agree and enter in. Jesus had just died for them and yet waited for an invitation to spend more time with them. (Luke 24)
Jesus waits to be invited into my heart. Jesus calls me by name. (John 10:3) Before I call Him, He answers. (Isaiah 65:24) I am given a seat right next to Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6) When was the last time someone pulled out a chair for you? My son asked me once why he should pull out a chair for a woman or stand when she comes in the room. â€œRespectâ€ is what I told him. Jesus must have respect for me. Do I deserve it? No. But Jesus is my Groom. He wants me to be His Bride and He wants me to feel like His Bride. Too often at this point in my personal, internal â€˜discussionâ€™ I rush on by but today I am stopping and just sitting quietly as I receive Jesusâ€™ love; feel His arms around me. Quiet.
It is only when I have accepted and received Jesusâ€™ love that I am able to give that love to others. Jesus wants me to give His love. I am showing who He is primarily by how I act with others. Paul said in Colossians that I should make the most of the opportunities I am given to be kind to others and so to show them who Jesus is. (Colossians 4:5-6) When I am kind to someone (even if they are not), I honor Jesus. It is not about my payback. It is about my love and desire to love Jesus. I am right when I am kind…just like Jesus.
Note: Today I am pleased to announce the first edition of the webzine, Bible Study Paths.
The purpose of the Bible Study Paths webzine is to promote enthusiastic Bible study in the individual, small groups, and the Church at large.
There will be articles written by evangelicals, charismatics, pentecostals, liberals, conservatives, and those who cannot (and will not) be put in any of those categories. The views will not always reflect my personal views but I hope they will make us all think and consider why we believe what we do. And I hope they will always â€œleave us loving God and each other moreâ€ (Alden Thompson, Walla Walla, WA, professor and friend).
I hope you find some blessings there.Â — Jody