In my earlier post this week, I shared some of my discoveries on learning to love like Jesus … and that it’s a process. We really can’t love like Jesus on our own! We need his strength to love our enemies or even the person who is hard to like or frustrates us. Here are three tips that help me:
- Give up trying to love, or “do” or “be” in your own strength! In 2 Corinthians 12:10 Paul says, “Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” Recognize you are NOT strong enough by yourself. Quit the “if only’s,” or “I should’s,” and do what connects you to God first. In the process, read God’s word – not as a homework assignment, but to discover the help and strength God has for you today in dealing with tough relationships.
- Talk to God. Begin your day in his presence – try envisioning him as a friend chatting with you over your cup of morning coffee. Talk to him about your day ahead and anything else on your mind. Then, talk with him throughout your day. Ask him for wisdom in decisions you are making in relationship to others in your life…ask him for his eyes as you see others … and for his heart in your dealings with people.
- Then, at the end of the day, thank God. 1 Thessalonians 5:19: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” When difficult conversations happen, and even good relationships feel rare, it’s easy to get discouraged. If we let discouragement fester in our hearts, we can begin to resent God … which in turn brings us back to relying more on ourselves. To “thank God in all circumstances,” keep a gratitude list. Each person in your life has some redeeming qualities because we are ALL made in God’s image! Write down even the simplest of things you see of God in others and especially those traits or characteristics you see you can be thankful for. It will help you rediscover God in the midst of your current challenges, enabling you to rely on him. Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist