By Keona Tann
Almost 12 months ago all I wanted to do was withdraw from a loved one. They had wounded my heart and offended me. To protect myself all I wanted to do was COMPLETELY sever ties with them. BUT God showed me that He loves that person and He asked me to love them too. Rather than withdraw I reached out, prompted by God, and maintained a relationship. How did I do that? Well it was only possible through God’s strength. He reminded me of a study that I had been wanting to do based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. The verse talks about all the characteristics that love should and shouldn’t be:
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” This is the New Living Translation.
I broke the verse down into the following aspects and prayerfully considered each.
Patience: How easy is it to have a 'short fuse' to lash out and get easily annoyed?! But God wants us to wait, to count to 10, say a brief prayer....do anything except be annoyed and anxious. We must make it a habit, catch ourselves in the act, recognize situations that we react to and RESPOND as God wants us to. Lay it down, ask Him for help and accept the need to change.
Kind: It's hard to be generous, it's not in our human nature to always be such, but it is in Gods character! How many chances has He given us?! Numerous, too many to start to count or list! So we should reciprocate that to those around us, be generous in our smile, our manners, our time, our patience, our forgiveness.... Consider your actions and the consequences of them, ask yourself about the actions you are taking or the words you are saying, ask are they things that will build or destroy?! Is it kind? Is it thoughtful? Is it how Jesus would respond?
Not jealous: How easy does jealousy come! Your neighbours pulls into their driveway with a brand new car or your friends on Facebook head overseas to a sunny destination, while you sit shivering on your couch with a nasty cold! So many times during the day pangs of jealousy can attack our heart. We can sit and wonder when it will be “my time to shine” or how much more sacrifice will we have to make for it to finally be “our turn” to have a nice holiday away etc. We need to stop ourselves as soon as those feelings arise, before those thoughts spiral out of control, and instead replace the negative by saying “Lord bless them”. Pray and celebrate that their hard work has paid off, that they worked hard at saving or received a bonus from work.
Not boastful or proud: Human nature is prideful. We can achieve something difficult and sometimes forget about the pain, heartache and hard work that has gone into it. We pray continuously for breakthrough and then in the good times tend to forget to be thankful. James 1:17 reminds us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above” therefore we need to continually thank God.
Not rude: It is so easy to be rude, to react harshly to something said to us and it can be a vicious cycle. Proverbs 12:18 “some speak rashly like the cutting of a sword, but what the wise say promotes healing.” Remember how impacting your words and actions are on those around you. Take a deep breath when something hurtful has been said to you, say a quick “help me Lord” prayer and respond with words of life.
Does not demand: Sometimes it is not what we ask for but the tone we use that can offend others. Asking for something without manners or kindness can sound like a demand rather than a request and ‘put people’s back up’. So be thoughtful in your requests of others.
Is not irritable: To be on the receiving end of a request, if we have a negative feeling already towards that person, can sound like a demand. No matter what is said we can be annoyed and easily angered. With God’s help he can enable you to let go of past hurts and hear with new ears.
Rejoices over the truth: When we see injustice we need to decide if it is something that God needs us to stand up against or to quietly pray about. Micah 6:8 states “….what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”. Ephesians 6:14 (ESV) also remind us to “stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…..” when tempted to speak ill or unsure of something being spoken imagine that belt, buckled in God’s truth, surrounding you and ask Him to help you speak and hear His truth.
Remain hopeful and allow God to give you the endurance you need! Stand strong in God and allow Him to love your family and friends afresh today.
Please note: There may be some relationships that you need to put strong boundaries on or even walk away from. Seek God and ask Him for wisdom!
I have not been a victim of domestic abuse or violence but if you are then PLEASE seek professional help. Violence against any living creature is NOT ok!
Keona Tann has lived most of her life in the beautiful Australian state - Tasmania. She has been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years. Keona and her husband consider themselves extremely blessed to be raising 2 wonderful teenagers. They have also been long time child sponsors with Compassion. Keona's working life has seen her develop over 15 years of customer service experience. Health issues have plagued her for 28 years and over the past 2 years have been severely debilitating. Seeking direction from God her passion for writing was recently reignited. Writing the following mission statement: "I desire to impact the world through the words I share. I long to enrich, empower and encourage others whilst delivering my stories with empathy and understanding." she hopes to launch her new career soon.