Friday, October 25, 2013

Love is Patient and Kind

Chuckle:  After being punished for losing his temper, a little boy asked his mother, "Can you explain to me the difference between my foul temper and your worn nerves?"   
Quote:  "The heart benevolent and Kind The most resembles God." --Robert Burns 'A Winter Night'           
    "Love is patient, love is kind. . . It is not easily angered" (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV).  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, . . patience, kindness . . ." (Galatians 5:22 NIV).
All too often, as Dotse and I sit down to enjoy a meal together or settle into our easy chairs to read or watch television, the phone begins its relentless ringing.  Often it's those pesky inconsiderate telemarketers trying to sell us something we don't want or need; and they are reluctant to take "no" for an answer.  Signing up for the "no call" list has been only partially effective.  It's very irritating and makes me want to snarl at the person on the other end in a rush of anger.  I'm tempted to become impatient, unkind, rude, and insulting.
However, when I stop to think and seriously consider the situation, I begin to feel guilty and embarrassed because of my attitude.  I'm reminded that the person making the call is probably a decent human being just trying to make a living in a tough job market.  From my military days, I remember hearing something like this: "If you don't like the bad news message, it does no good to shoot the messenger."  After all, the messenger and the telemarketer do not deserve to be treated rudely and suffer the results of our rage.  Telemarketing is their job, and should not define who they are, or their value, in our eyes because they are certainly as precious in the eyes of our Lord as you and I.
In our passage, the apostle Paul describes the characteristics of genuine love.  Have you thought about loving a telemarketer or someone else that irritates or inconveniences you by their words or actions?  God's kind of love is all about others and is directed outward, not inward toward ourselves.  Earlier, I described my natural inclinations to react in an unkind and unloving way.  So, how can we love even the telemarketers as Jesus loves us (John 13:34)?  I think this quote from the NLT Life Applications Study Bible says it all.
    "This kind of love goes against our natural inclinations.  It is impossible to have this kind of love unless God helps us set aside our own natural desires so that we can love and not expect anything in return.  Thus, the more we become like Christ, the more love we will show to others." 
Our passages tell us love is patient and kind and is not easily angered.  Such love and patience are fruits of the Holy Spirit living within us (Gal. 5:22).  So, the next time a telemarketer, or some other person irritates you and you are inclined to react in anger, stop, take a deep breath and let the Spirit of Christ direct your words and actions.  Thus, you will honor God.

Love, Jerry & Dotse


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