Yesterday’s blog referenced one of the most popular passages on the topic of love, I Corinthians 13. Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy….I’ve always thought of this passage in one way: relationally. Am I patient with my students? Do I show kindness to my mother? Am I envious of my neighbor who has a nicer car than I do? Do I keep a running tally of all the times I’ve felt that my husband’s done me wrong?
Yesterday, it dawned on me that these verses can also be applied to how you view and treat yourself as well. Am I patient with myself? Am I kind to myself? Do I forgive myself? After all, love isn’t supposed to keep records of wrong. So if I genuinely love myself, I will forgive myself when I mess up. That’s a tough one for me to do. So often, I find myself holding on to past mistakes. I harbor these strong feelings of guilt over mean things I’ve said and wrong actions I’ve committed yesterday, last month, and even years ago, sins of which I’ve already been forgiven. Psalm 103:12 says “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” I’m not saying we should attempt to forget about our past sins. On the contrary, I do believe we should remember so that we can learn from our past. But we should not live in defeat and let our past rule us or define who we are!
Sometimes we don’t realize the lasting impact the little things of life will make. This was driven home in a recent conversation with one of my kids.
We were talking about love — what it is, what it isn’t, how you express it. Not just romantic love, but exhibiting the characteristics of love in relationships, on the job with co-workers, in everyday circumstances when interacting with others.
I was going to look up I Corinthians 13 in the Bible because to me, that describes the characteristics of love in a way that I can understand and is so practical. My daughter began quoting it word for word before I could even google it. Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy …… I asked how she knew it, she said ‘Mom, how could I not, when I was growing up you had a picture on my bedroom wall with the words of those verses on it. I read it every night before I went to sleep.’
Right then, I realized that it’s the little things that have lingering effects on our children, for the good or bad. Making every effort to speak, show or allow them to read the truth of scripture in natural ways allows for it to settle deeply within for development of their character and be available in their memory for instant recall when needed.
I never viewed myself as a very controlling person. I usually let others take the reins and just settle in my nice comfortable seat of following. Lately though, God has been revealing something to me…that I am a total control freak! I mean, not controlling of others, but of myself. Throughout my life I thought I was doing a pretty okay job at living my life for God when in reality I was making decisions based on myself and what I wanted out of life. God has been pointing out so many areas of my life that are still under ‘my control’.
I like to think about it like a house. I do feel like I’ve given Him access to quite a few rooms in my house…but I have some locked doors too, the keys to which I have a death grip around..I’ve hidden those keys so well I think that God will never find them! It’s like He’s standing outside of those doors, lightly knocking, waiting to be let in, but it’s just so hard to relinquish that control and hand over the keys! I think sometimes I pretend not to hear the knock and figure it must just be those shutters flapping in the wind again! But honestly, how come it’s so hard to trust God with every part of our lives? I think for me it goes right back to trust. Trusting that He is truly in control of all things (Col 1:16-17) , trusting that He loves me and that He really does have some kind of plan for even me!
I hope and pray that you and I can learn to trust this sovereign God more and more and start loosening our grip on those keys!