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The Wisdom of Love

The Wisdom of Love
by Annette Capps

   It would be difficult to deny the importance of love in the Christian walk. We talk about love and we can rejoice in the love of God that motivated God to send His only Son to redeem us from the powers of darkness, save us from sin and heal us from sickness. And, according to Jesus, the world will know we follow Christ by our love. It is love that draws people to repent. It is love that is missing in their lives, not theology and doctrine.

   Paul said in Romans 5:5 that the love of God has been shed abroad (poured into our hearts) through the Holy Spirit. My observation has been that the challenge of love is allowing it to pour out to others; particularly those who have “done you wrong.”  Lest you think I am preaching at you, I will admit that I myself have had challenges! Before I share my personal experiences, let’s look at the scriptures and allow them to speak for themselves:

“To sum up, you should all be of one mind living like brothers with true love and sympathy for each other, generous and courteous at all times. Never pay back a bad turn with a bad turn or an insult with another insult, but on the contrary pay back with good. For this is your calling—to do good and one day to inherit all the goodness of God. For: ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile: let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” (I Peter 3:8-11 Phillips)

“For the Scriptures tell us: Whoever wants to embrace true life and find beauty in each day must stop speaking evil, hurtful words and never deceive in what they say. Always turn from what is wrong and cultivate what is good; eagerly pursue peace in every relationship, making it your prize.” (I Peter 3:10-11 TPT)

   Now I don’t know about you, but I want to find beauty in each day and live a good life. I prefer this type of day over a “bad day.” The amazing thing is…we are in control of which day we have by what we say, the tone of our voice, and how we behave toward others.

   Several years ago I had a specific illustration in my life that showed me just how quickly speaking unkindly of others affects me. I remember it vividly, sitting in a restaurant after a church service talking to a friend and eating a late night breakfast. We talked about many subjects and then I began to “share” about a situation in my life where I felt someone had “done me wrong” or behaved in a way that was hurtful to me. (Please note that “sharing” is speaking words.) As I began to talk about the problems they were causing me and how they “should” have behaved, I believed my judgment of them was justified. However, before we left the restaurant, I developed a sore throat and symptoms of a respiratory infection. I got the message and repented! Now God did not do that to me, I did it to myself by opening the door to strife instead of keeping that door shut!

   Now, you may think that was a coincidence, but over the years I have seen the pattern. Speaking ill of others, being judgmental, and not walking in love towards others is bad for my health. And yours too! Now talking about someone is different than having a conversation with someone to work out a disagreement. You can talk about someone all you want as long as the one you are addressing is God!  He is the best Counselor and will not only guide you in your relationships but correct you and get you back on the right path.

   Having a conversation with someone to restore relationship may be a good idea, as long as you have (1) asked for wisdom (2) asked for guidance & timing (3) examined the motivation of your own heart. (If your intent is to prove you are right and they are wrong, you will only make the situation worse.)

Binding or Loosing Others

“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew 18:18)

   Often we quote this scripture when referring to binding the devil, however, the context of this chapter in which Jesus was speaking indicated He was talking about forgiveness and personal relationships. Unforgiveness binds the person who refuses to forgive and is self-destructive.  Forgiveness is a spiritual force that looses you and the person you forgive. I think we all know that we should forgive, but our question is how. It is not done with feelings or by feelings. Forgiveness is done by faith as a choice and an act of your will.  Pray this prayer: Father in Jesus name I choose to forgive _______ as an act of faith upon Your Word. Although I may not feel like it, I choose to forgive and loose ______ and loose myself from strife, anger and unforgiveness. I am free and _____ is free. From this moment forward I will declare that I have forgiven and all is well. I trust my feelings to You in Jesus name.

   A friend of mine gave a great illustration of binding and loosing. Standing on a stage, she held a multitude of strings and as five people walked upon the stage she gave them a string. But she did not let go. She held on to one end while they held the other.  By the time she was connected to five people, it was a mess and she was tangled up, hindered and bound by those seemingly small strings. Everywhere she went she was dragging 5 other people with her. To demonstrate the power of forgiveness, she then took a pair of red scissors and snipped each string. Now she was able to move freely and unhindered as were the other 5 people. 

   You are bound like this to the people in your life that you have refused to forgive. Most of the time we want a lot of distance from those who have hurt us, but we can only get away from them if we cut the string of unforgiveness.

Call Your Enemy Your Friend

   Jesus said in Matthew 5:44 to love our enemies, bless them that curse you and do good to them that hate you. If you do those things, then you are acting as if your enemy is your friend. If your enemy is hungry and you feed him, you are acting as though he were a friend and by faith calling those things that are not as though they are.

   When someone has offended or hurt you, first forgive them by faith then pray about acting on it by meeting a need that they have or doing something nice for them. You could even do this anonymously if you feel led to do so because this act of faith is for your benefit. It is not necessary for you to confront the person about how you feel. They may be unaware of it and your speaking it could drive a wedge in the relationship. Some situations are easier resolved without words and sometimes a frank discussion is wisdom. (The wisdom of God will lead you.) Bake a cake. Take them to lunch.  Give a gift. Proverbs 18:16 says, “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.” You may not choose that person to be your best friend or even be around them, but do something nice to resolve the feelings then let it go.

   Forgiving someone and being kind does not mean that you must continue the relationship! You are only responsible for your actions and your relationship with God. 

How To Tell Your Relatives Their Faults

   There’s one easy answer to this in one word-- DON’T! Some people use Matthew 18:15 as an excuse to straighten people out. If you read it in context Jesus did not appoint or anoint anyone for this duty! Many times it is easier to deal with relatives without words simply by showing love. If there is a need to discuss a problem, be careful not to put them on the defense by attacking them and pointing out their shortcomings. Remember, if your intent is to prove you are right and they are wrong, you will only make the situation worse. 

   There are two rules for discussing problems with relatives (or others). The first rule is LOVE. Never attempt a conversation unless you are sure you are motivated by love. Check yourself in comparison to I Corinthians 13, preferably the Amplified version. Ask yourself, “What is my motive? Is it to prove that I am right? Is it for the satisfaction of hearing another apologize? Is it so I will appear more spiritual?”

What If They ARE Wrong?

   If the other individual has sinned or is wrong be sure that you have the unction of love that will make them want to change and not make them look or feel defeated. LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH. You need wisdom to say it the right way. WISDOM is the second rule. You can have love, but if you don’t have the wisdom to know what to say and how to say it you’ll make a mess of things. You may be absolutely right, but if you don’t say it in the right way, then you can do more harm than good.

   Communication is very good and very important if it results in understanding and resolution of the problem. However, some individuals either cannot or will not communicate. Resolve these situations by your actions of love and keep your mouth shut!  The wisdom of God will teach you when to talk and when to be quiet.

Put Your Feelings Aside Long Enough To Think

   As hard as it may seem, try not to react or speak from your feelings. Think before you speak. People do things for a reason. There is a reason the person who offended you acted that way. I never cease to be amazed at what goes on in people’s minds.  Usually when strife and discord comes, it comes as a result of believing a lie---and you know where that comes from! Perhaps the devil has been lying to them and they are intimidated by you. Maybe they had a bad day at work. Could it be that the reason you were avoided is an inferiority complex? Or did a lying spirit twist something you said and tell them a lie about what you think of them? Or is that spirit lying to you to cause division? 

  Believe the best of every person. Don’t listen to the lies of the devil or your carnal mind and further complicate a problem. If it does become necessary and you are led to have a discussion, then be sure that you are motivated by love and have the wisdom of God to deal wisely. Consider this, Jesus gave us all power and authority in His name and there is no limit to what the Holy Spirit can do through us. So the only way the rulers of darkness can stop this world changing power is to get us bogged down and tangled up in strife. I pray your eyes will be opened and your spirit set free in Jesus name! We win!!!

“As always, be led of the Holy Spirit in everything you do! Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire (this) love - make it your aim, your great quest...”  (I Corinthians 14:1 AMP)   

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