Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pause, Breath and Love

Now that the election cycle is finally over, let me say that I wished I’d seen the Kid President video clip on how to disagree WAY earlier.

The bad news is that I didn’t get to see this video until a couple of days after the elections, and after I had gotten into an unfortunate disagreement with a friend. I think it was the fact that I had been quiet for so long, silently enduring the horrendous and misguided stuff I saw day in and day out in Facebook, that finally I blew a fuse…Sometimes it’s best to just deal with our disagreements in a coherent manner rather than pretend that all is fine and dandy. Hiding our true feelings, trying to push them aside only creates a volcano effect that turns out worse than if we had had the courage to speak openly in the first place. The key is to know how to disagree and still be friends…a rather challenging feat at this point in our society.

The irony is that I did not have enough grown-up common sense of my own to realize this so it took a video with a cute kid to make me understand the possibility of disagreeing with someone and still be human…still love.

I am a big fan of 2 Timothy 1:7:

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

“God gave us a spirit not of fear…” I love that part…especially in the context of my long-fought battle against fear. However, this portion of the verse doesn’t mean we have free range to be aggressive and unkind. On the contrary, even though the spirit that He has given us is “of power” it is also a spirit of “love” AND “self-control.” Much like His own spirit and nature, the spirit God gifted us with is equal parts power/love/self-control. (2 Timothy 1: 7)

Let’s think about these three elements for a moment. God made us in His own image, and as such, the spirit that He deposited in us reflects who He is. Our Great God is a God of unlimited power: Jesus said it many times, let’s just remember one, in Matthew 19:26

And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

God Himself said it, Jeremiah 32:27

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?"

All that power needs to be balanced. Love is the balance and then self-control is the reign that allows God to be all powerful and still merciful and just.

God is Love: 1 John 4:8

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

And as such, we are overwhelmed by His goodness:

And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3: 17-18

He is a God of Self-Control. The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Number 14: 18a He is the God of Mercy…He is the God of Grace. The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. (Psalms 86, 103, 145) And as such, we are overflowing with His compassion.

Because of His great love, because He IS Love, he exhibits self-control. Love is what gives Him the ability to exercise self-control over His omnipotence. Given God’s Holiness, His unlimited power would go toward the destruction of all things unholy since nothing unholy can be in His presence. Love is what finds a way to reign in His power and offer us a way to reach Him even in our sinful nature. Love is what opens up the floodgates of His Grace and what made Him design a plan that would involve Our Savior, Jesus coming down to us and dying for us.

So, if God, the One and Only All Mighty, Omnipotent Sovereign of the Universe is able to reign in His limitless power, and we are made in His image…there is no excuse for us, regardless of how wrong we think the other person is, to not be able to disagree and still exhibit love.

I pray next time I am faced with the dilemma of disagreement with someone, that I have enough self-control to pause, breath and love before I open my mouth and create discord.

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