Brotherly Love instead of Bone to Pick

Romans 12:10Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another

 

I don’t know about you, but people tend to get on my nerves.  They don’t usually mean to, and they aren’t usually trying to.  It just happens – because they get in my way and/or make it hard(er) for me.

 

It’s easier to deal with when it is a random, unknown person:

  • The person who cuts the left turn too short
  • The person who blocks the entire grocery aisle
  • The person who goes 30 and hits the brakes a lot in a 45 mile an hour zone
  • The person who refuses to let me (or anyone) merge into morning traffic
  • The group blocking the walkway anywhere (movies, church, theater)

 

Nameless and unknown.  You comment under your breath and move on, knowing you will probably not see or have to deal with the person again.

 

But what about the people you know?  The ones who know your name:

  • The coworker who leaves a mess in the shared kitchen or bathroom
  • The coworker who leaves early or calls out on a short-staffed day
  • The coworker who sends a nasty text because she didn’t like something you said

 

And how about when it gets in your face personal:

  • The boss/parent/teacher who makes every problem your fault
  • The boss/parent/teacher who calls you useless or worthless to your face
  • The boss who gives your supervisor permission to verbally abuse you … to her face
  • The family member who only talks about your negative points

 

Any of this is enough to wear on anyone.  But it is tough to tough it out and “be kindly affectionate” when it gets personal.  And I have moments when the pain people bring into my life causes me to (proudly) wear my pissy panties.

 

Brotherly Love

 

And I know it is wrong.  Because it puts me so far from Jesus’ idea of love (giving people understanding and serving them) and Paul’s idea of love (see 1 Corinthians 13).

 

We are called to so much more than hissy fits and emotional baggage.  Paul spells it out in Romans 12:9-21.  We are called to think, act, and speak like Jesus.

 

In verse 10 alone, we are called to:

  • To choose not to repay bad actions and harsh words with the same.  We are called to “be kindly affectionate” – to give goodness at all times.
  • To choose to live out of amazing grace instead of our unreliable emotions.  We are called to “giving preference” – to give forgiveness, even when it is not asked for, and to find compassion, even when it is least deserved.
  • To choose to see people as children of God … and to react to them as such.  We are called to “brotherly love” – to speak carefully, to love continuously, to pray compassionately, and to react cautiously to all of God’s masterpieces.

 

And I miss all these marks.  Sometimes all in the same day.  And I could get down on myself and beat myself up.

 

But I don’t.  I choose to see the lesson in each failure – and take a step toward love the next time I have a chance.

 

And I remember I am not called to have a close and personal relationship with everyone.  Even Jesus only had a handful of people close to Him.  But I am called to love everyone – I am expected to help people see the goodness and experience the grace of God.  Whether it is for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

 

And that means in order to “… live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18) I have to check myself.  A lot!

 

I need to choose to pray for each person who gets on my nerves.  God please help me, because I need it!

 

Loving Father, thank You for loving me through all my good and bad moments.  Thank You for never giving up on me, no matter what I do and how many times I miss Your best.  Help me to love and respond to people in the same grace-filled way You do.  Help me to assume the best and choose to bless … especially in those moments when I don’t want to react this way.  Help me to be a tsunami of grace to everyone around me.  In Jesus’ all-mighty name.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  8/4-8/5/18.

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