Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Most Excellent Way

The holidays have a way of throwing off my timing when it comes to routine.  A four-day holiday turned into five days when I found myself unwilling to tackle the chores Monday usually brings.  Unseen circumstances have caused my Tuesday to become my Monday this week.

This particular Thanksgiving brought sorrow to our family at the passing of my husband’s mother, Barbara.  Perhaps this unexpected event contributed to my lethargy because when the death of someone comes, it usually causes us to over-tax our minds by recalling memories of their life and hoping their relationship with the Lord was one that secured them eternal peace.  Because my mother-in-law and I were not close, it also caused me to examine myself and question whether or not I had done all God required of me while she still lived.  Years ago I cleared my conscience, forgave, and moved on.  But with her death, the unanswered questions and unspoken words were once again dredged up - words that could have healed a multitude of wounds - and the opportunity to address them is forever gone.

If Barbara’s passing has brought any enlightenment to me, it is that human relationships are a tricky and often troublesome part of our lives.  The only formula provided in dealing with them is designed by God.  We are the ones who look for other ways in responding to those who interfere, cause problems, or bring pain.  The human response is the desire to give tit for tat.  But that is not God’s way.  He expects much more from His children.  We are to love them.

As the Apostle Paul expressed in 1Corinthians 13, love is the greatest healer of wounds, even if the other party refuses to embrace it.  Love “keeps no record of wrongs” (v5), even if the wrongs committed cut to the very marrow of our soul.  Love is the comforter that helps us set aside our past and soothes the burning pain of wrongs committed against us and those we love.  Love drives back the whisperings of hatred and retaliation.  It is the “greatest” spiritual gift God can give us in times like these, and one we should pass on to others because only then can healing begin.

Each day in my walk with Christ, I am learning more of that valuable lesson of loving my enemies (Matt 5:43-48).  Indeed it has been and will be an on-going struggle each time I am faced with a situation that requires it.  And as we approach Barbara’s funeral tomorrow and a brief meeting with my husband’s estranged sister, my encouragement to my husband is for him to allow Christ’s love and light to shine upon her.  That is the way our God would have it.  It is a certainty that displaying his love for his sister in “the most excellent way” (v1) is one that is guaranteed to bring far-better and far-lasting results and a more satisfying conclusion to Barbara’s life.

Help us, O LORD, to display Your love for us and for the others who are grieving the passing of their mother and friend.  We pray that relationships will be healed and that pain and resentment will be driven from all of our hearts and replaced by Your abounding love. We also pray Barbara is at peace and in eternal rest with You and that one day we will all be reunited in glory and fully understand the love You have shown us.

In Christ be all glory, honor and praise.


Em said...

I heard the neatest thing on the radio one day about loving someone who is unloveable. It was about a woman who just couldn't love another woman in her church. She was nasty, unloveable and well just not a really nice person. The pastor just told the woman that "we" are not required to love her, but we are required to allow God to love her through us. That made sense to me. We can try and try to love someone that is unloveable and it won't work. We are human. Let's just give up and let God love them for us. I'm sorry about Barbara and like you hope she is with the Lord. Tell Steve we are all thinking about him and love him.

Em said...

By the way. That comment is from Dana. I'm on Em's computer. LOL

Karen L. Brahs said...

Lol! Sneaky! But good advice. Muriel once said that it's okay to love someone and not like them. It's also easier to love them from a distance, which I chose. Tomorrow will be interesting. There's a lot of hurt to be healed if the parties are willing.

Karie said...

Life circumstances have a profound way of teaching us-maybe reminding us-of what is most important. Love is truly the heart of the gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ; it is amazing the power it has to soften hearts, soothe pain, and bring peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Steve, and the rest of your family.