“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:35
We all need God’s help in order to forgive. Did you know on a bright day you can walk outside and block the entire light of the sun from your face? By positioning your hand at the correct angle, you can put yourself in the shade. That’s exactly what we do when we allow the violations of others to block out God’s face. Instead we must be quick to “draw near to God, remembering that He is a refuge and present help in times of trouble.”
Focusing on God rather than the problem is our first step toward freedom. Jesus is near to help us release the offense and even to begin blessing. It is not humanly possible, but all things are possible with Him. Our goal as citizens of heaven is to walk in love. Walking in love is our only chance for peace, unity, and joy in our neighborhoods, workplaces and schoolyards. Your witness as a believer is not only in what you say about Jesus, but a lot hinges on how you live your life before others. If we say, “God is love,” then people will watch to see if we are being loving. If we say, “God is patient,” then people will look to see if we are patient. Our lives speak, and so we must be careful about the choices we make when injustice comes. If we have to do the right thing in our own strength, certainly we will fail. But with His divine help, all things become possible. John writes, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”(John 2:6)
You must know the Bible chapter about love in 1 Corinthians 13. In this passage it says, “Love never fails.” Love is so powerful that it never fails. As a disciple of Jesus, how many of the qualities of love are a part of your lifestyle?
1 Corinthians 13 Love Test
“Love is patient,” therefore, “I am patient.”
Dictionary: Patient is one who is marked by or exhibiting calm endurance of pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance.
“Love is kind,” therefore, “I am kind.”
Dictionary: Kind is of a friendly, generous, or warm-hearted nature. Showing sympathy or understanding; charitable.
“Love does not envy,” therefore, “I do not envy.”
Dictionary: Envy is a feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by the desire for the possessions or qualities of another.
“Love does not boast,” therefore, “I do not boast.”
Dictionary: to boast is to glorify oneself in speech; to talk in a self-admiring way.
“Love is not proud,” therefore, “I choose humility.”
Dictionary: Proud is feeling pleasurable satisfaction over an act, a possession, a quality, or a relationship by which one measures one’s stature or self-worth.
“Love is not rude,” therefore, “I am not rude.”
Dictionary: Rude is being crude, rough, ill-mannered, discourteous.
“Love is not self-seeking,” therefore, “I am not selfish.”
Dictionary: Self seeking is exhibiting concern only with promoting one’s own ends or interests.
“Love is not easily angered,” therefore, “I choose not to be easily angered.”
Dictionary: Easily angered is a tendency to become easily irritable. An outburst of rage.
“Love keeps no records of wrongs,” therefore, “I do not hold grudges.”
Meaning: Forgiveness is given daily, so an account of wrongs cannot build up.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth,” therefore, “I take no pleasure in evil but agree with what is right.”
“Love bears all things,” therefore, “I will bear things with His help.”
Dictionary: to bear means to hold up; or support.
“Love believes all things,” therefore, “I will not be suspicious.”
Dictionary: to believe is to accept as true or real.
“Love hopes all things,” therefore, “I will exercise my faith to see hope succeed.”
Dictionary: Hope is to wish for something with expectation of fulfillment or to have confidence; trust.
“Love endures all things,” therefore, “I will be patient and see God answer.”
Dictionary: Endures means to carry on through, despite hardships; to undergo.”
As a disciple of Jesus, “I _____________ make a commitment to walk in love. With God’s help, I will show patience and kindness. I will not envy or boast, but I will walk in humility. When I feel offended I will not be rude. I will not be self-centered, but rather will focus on God. I choose not to be easily angered. I will be careful to forgive as I go along and not keep a record of wrongs. I will not delight in evil but will be the one who loves truth. When things are difficult, I will bear hardship with patience and faith. I will not take in a rumor or gossip but rather I choose to believe only a good report. I will put my hope in God who can change things, and Who works all things together for good to those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 13 & Romans 8:28)
“Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:5-6
“The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself.” -Galatians 5:14