We have a huge sign in our living room with words defining love, taken from 1 Corinthians 13, and I walk by it several times a day. It is a reminder for our family and something I desire for us. We also have big letters displayed that spell GRACE. Another visual for us to see that reminds us of the grace we have been extended and therefore we are to do the same. When I think about all that God sees and knows, yet loves me anyways, I am so thankful. How can I not respond with love and grace to others?
But can I tell you what the hardest part of 1 Corinthians 13 is for me? The line from verse 5 that says, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” I do not sit around and think of wrongs committed against me, but at times they come seemingly out of nowhere into my mind. Or maybe it is something spoken that kinda presses on an old scar. Why is that I wonder? I want others to forgive me and extend grace to the wrongs I have committed, but am I holding myself to a lesser standard? I pray not. God has said that He has forgiven my sins by the sacrifice of His Son, so how can I keep a record of others sins? I want to have His heart for others and not one that is filled with their sins against me or someone I love. This does not mean that sin gets swept under the rug, but I do not want it to have a place in my head or heart. God sees and knows. I can trust Him with it all.
As this new year takes off, I want to stop often and read God’s definition of love. I want the words He knew we needed to be planted deep in my heart. I want love to be my first response and not only given at certain times, to a select few. I want grace to share in abundance too. If He could wrap up His Son and give him to us, then maybe this year I can wrap up more love and grace for others too.
With this in mind, I think I found a key that might help us be more loving and grace filled. Jenni Allen posted a quote recently by Andrew Murray and I quickly ordered his book! He wrote, “Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.” Doesn’t this sound incredible? Can I teach this way of humility to my children? For me, before I teach something, I have to first learn it and then practice alongside. I see the only way to live in humility is to live secure in God’s love and continually say no to selfishness.
As Christmas break winds down and the kids head back to school, I find a hit of anxiousness setting in. In our home, things are controlled in a sense. If hurtful words are spoken, action is taken. If untruth is heard, we replace it with truth. If there are questions, we find answers. The list goes on. However, as the kids are away for so much of the day, I am a bit out of the loop. I have to trust the One who created them each and everyday. They belong to Him. My job is to love them and to shape their hearts, as He has instructed. In this, I pray their foundations are being built to live outside of our home. I want them to live loved, secure, full of grace, to appreciate beauty, to run from sin and to be humble. I want the same for you and for me.
So, I will start tomorrow in my “secret place” with the doors shut and meet with my Heavenly Father. I will read His words of love, grace and humility and I will pray. It will be a waste of time if I get up and live the same. And for the places that my heart struggles and my mind remembers wrongs, I will choose humility instead. The verse that I will keep close will be, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18-19). I do not know what the new thing will be, but I trust the One who loves me. And as we prayed in church this morning, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10-11).