Day three on learning to transform your relationships. Day 1 was changing your perspective to a godly one, day 2 was forgiveness. Here is a great quote I found on forgiveness by Lewis Smedes: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Today we are going to look at loving and accepting the sandpaper people in our lives for who they are and how they are.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He responded in the following verses.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. “
We are called to love our neighbors, and yes, that includes those sandpaper people in your lives who irritate you, hurt your feelings and know just how to push your buttons. First of all, notice that love is a verb, it is an action. So how do we do that? How do we love others with the kind of love Christ is talking about?
1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
The kind of love described here is the kind of love God has for us. It is the kind of love that really is where the rubber meets the road. Are you willing to love the sandpaper person in your life that way? I know some of you are thinking, “no way, they don’t deserve it, you don’t know how they treat me or what they have done to me.” But, remember that is the way God loves us and we don’t deserve it either, we hurt Him by sinning and yet we continue to sin. We let Him down by not doing what we are supposed to do. We are far from perfect and yet, He loves us completely, unconditionally and He wants us to do the same for others.
Imagine what your relationship with that sandpaper person would be like if you were patient and kind. What if instead of responding with irritation, you responded with kindness? The word patience in this verse is makrothomia in Greek and it refers to “patience with people and is marked by mercy. It frequently suggests a refusal to retaliate.” (NIV Key Word Study Bible) We are able to have this kind of patience because we treat others with the mercy Christ has shown to us. We choose love over retaliation.
It is a kind of love that is not envious of what someone else has and does not boast and isn’t proud. If those aren’t hard enough, it is also a kind of love that is not rude and doesn’t keep a record of wrong doings. The description goes on to say that it isn’t self-seeking or easily angered. What a difference that kind of love could make in our relationships with our sandpaper people!
We need to love the sandpaper people in our lives with the love of Christ and we need to accept them.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Christ accepted us just the way we were, the good, the bad and the ugly. He didn’t wait for us to change; He accepted us for who we were and how we were. When we are able to do that with the sandpaper people in our lives, we bring tremendous praise to God and He is glorified.
Think about the sandpaper person in your life. Do you love them with the love of Christ? Do you accept them for who they are and where they are? Can you imagine how that relationship would be transformed if TODAY you began to love them and accept them?