There are times when people, who are part of the body of Christ, do something that just disgusts you so much you just feel like …. Grrrrrrr!
It is times like these when you need to remember what love is and remember that the word of God says to love God and love one another (Matthew 22:39) and that we should forgive our brother seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22).
We should pray the Lord take the bitterness out of our heart and give our hearts peace. We should also ask the Lord to help us love those people because it seems that at these times we forget what love is.
On Sunday it was the lack of love around me that made me feel that way and the Lord opened my heart and reminded me of what love was and showed me some things that I want to share with you.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all thing.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
God put it on my heart to look at “does not act unbecomingly” for just a moment. The Greek word used for unbecomingly is Aschemoneo (as-kay-mon-eh’-o) and it means to act unbecomingly; to behave in a disgraceful fashion.
I wasn’t sure I understood, so I prayed and I looked up the definition for the word unbecoming. It means “not according with the standards appropriate to one’s position or condition in life”.
I also looked up disgrace. It means shame, disgrace, dishonor, ignominy; to humiliate by a superior showing. And yes, I needed to look up the word ignominy because I have never heard the word before. It means deep personal humiliation and disgrace; disgraceful or dishonorable conduct, quality, or action.
To humiliate by a superior showing means you are making something seem to be worth less than something else even though they are equal – this applies to people as well as events. When you humiliate a person, for example, you lower them, you put yourself above them, or you reduce their position in your eyes or in the eyes of others.
The person becomes insignificant; they are ignored and treated with little or no esteem or respect.
What a very powerful message God is giving here. Can you say you love your brothers and sisters if you ignore them and humiliate them or if make those around you see that person as being less than what they truly are?
That is when a huge sadness fell on my heart. I knew there was something more that God wanted me to see in this. God wanted me to see that this humiliation can also happen with the word of God and the love He has for each person. People can make God’s word seem less that what it truly is, they can make it seem insignificant or even meaningless by their actions or words.
That is what we do when we forget what love is and how God loved us so much that He gave His very own Son, a part of Himself, as a sacrifice.
Love is also patient and does not seek its own.
Impatience causes us to not have flexibility when worshipping and honoring God. Many would rather be impatient and do things their way, instead of waiting and depending on God to help them.
When you are patient you not only take time to encourage others, but you also take time to worship the Lord, to pray things through, and wait on the Lord. You take time to ask God to help you do things so that you don’t go against His word. You take time to seek the Lord’s way and not your own.
When you seek your own, you do things that are important to you and ignore or humiliate those things which are important to others or you humiliate the significance of God’s word. We should not seek our way, but the way of the Lord – to follow His desire and not our own.
I have learned in so many different ways, that God has a purpose for everything. I now see God in everything that happens around me. From the car that cuts me off to teach me self-control to the hurricanes that come straight at my house to teach me to trust in God to protect me. Just as I know that God allowed me to see what I saw on Sunday for a purpose.
The Lord then led me to this scripture. It tells us how we are to treat each other.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; Romans 12:10-11
To be devoted means to commit by a solemn act. The word in Greek is Philostorgos (fil-os’-tor-gos). It also means to have loving affection, to love tenderly, prone to love. We should do things for each other with the love that God has given us. We are brothers and sisters in Christ and that makes us family and we should love and respect each other as a family member.
To give preference means to show the way the Lord desires us to be, to be an example not only to brothers and sisters, but to be examples to those who are seeking and do not yet understand the truth of God’s love. The word in Greek for preference is Proegeomai (pro-ay-geh’-om-ahee) and it means to go before and show the way, to go before and lead, to go before as a leader. To give preference with honor would then be to lead or go before someone with reverence or respect.
Jesus gave us preference, He showed us the way love should be for each other – the true love that God has shown and continues to show each of us. He is our leader just as we are each leaders in a way God desires us to be. Each of us has a very specific purpose to fulfill, but one thing we all share is the love God has given us and for us to be able to reflect that love to others.
The next part of that verse says not to lag behind in diligence. To be lagging is to be sluggish or backward. Diligence is to strive after something. The word of God calls us to strive to be Christ like. So to be lagging in diligence would be to stop growing in the word of God, to stop getting to know the Lord better, to stop loving others the way God desires us to.
Fervent in Greek is Zeo (dzeh’-o) and it means to have zeal. To have zeal for something means to have a passion for it. We should have a passionate spirit in us to serve God. We should also have a passionate desire in us to love each other the way God desires us to.
So we are to solemnly love each other, with respect show others the way as a leader, don’t be sluggish or backward in working for God, but have zeal for what is good and acceptable in His sight.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Proverbs 3:27
When it is in your power do not withhold good from those whom it is due. That is an awesome little statement there. What the Lord showed me with this is that we may not have the power to do certain things, but nothing is beyond God. At these times we are to depend on God to provide a way. But there are things which are within our power. Choices we can make to help others, to encourage others, to help build up the body of Christ and bring us closer together. Our choice is to do things according to the word of God or to do things our way. We have a choice to love others or to love ourselves.
Let’s go back and look at the definition of unbecoming behavior. It means “not according with the standards appropriate to one’s position or condition in life”.
Those who are mature in the Lord will have a more sound position in His love, they will have a better understanding of how they should be, but even those who are newborn, will have a spirit in them that will guide them in what is right and what is not right.
To treat others with disrespect, to ignore them, to put your desires over theirs, to not encourage, to not reflect the love of God according to His word, is unbecoming behavior. To take an event that is good and appropriate to the Lord and make it into something which seems meaningless is unbecoming behavior. To take God’s word and make it into something that enhances your desires or your goals, but does not reflect the Lord’s love in truth is unbecoming behavior.
We each need to examine ourselves and make sure we are following the word of God in an appropriate way. We need to be sure we are reflecting His love the best we possibly can. We need to pray to the Lord to show us what we need to do in order to correct ourselves and we need to seek forgiveness for our mistakes.
God will help us, we just need to ask.