Just recently I had the opportunity to look at how I talk to people. That is, do I give anger for anger and irritation for irritation or do I respond in a Christ-like manner? In other words, do I behave as if the Lord Jesus was a guest in my house?
That’s not as fanciful a thought as it may seem at first glance.
Let us examine this a little closer. Let’s say that I had a terrible day at work, the computer broke down, the boss yelled at me and I had irate customers on the phone all day long. By the time I get home, I’m pretty worn out, but as soon as I hit the door, my wife asks me to go to the store and drop off some mail. My response is a somewhat short irritated, “No”!
Now at first you might say (and I know I would like to say) that I had a rough day and I was letting off a little steam. Maybe even that I was justified for being irritated for the thoughtlessness of the request, after all I had just walked in the door after a long day. But I would be wrong!
Let me show you why. Let’s say that when I walked into the house this time, there sitting on my couch was the Lord Jesus Christ. He gives me a warm hello and rising from His seat embraces me in a gentle hug. Then walking into the room comes my wife asking me to do some shopping for dinner (after all I do have a guest) and drop off some mail. What would be my response then? What would be yours?
As the children of God we have the responsibility to always respond in love, regardless of the circumstances. A tall order? Not really. If the Lord had been sitting in your house you would have responded in kindness not in anger, in fact most of us would have altered our response when a guest if anyone had been there visiting.
The reason we change our response when a guest is present, is because we are trying to make a good impression. We want them to think only the best things possible about us. In loving the Lord we have invited Him into our house; that sacred little house of our heart. He has come to sup with us and we with Him. And once there, He is always there (unless we ask Him to leave) watching over us day after day. He sees us at our best, and at our worst. We should be doing our best to make a good impression at all times.
Christ said that the true test of discipleship was our love for one another. In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, the Apostle Paul describes what love does and does not do. In verse 5, it begins this statement,”[Charity] Doth not behave itself unseemly,…”
James says it quite clearly, “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend NOT IN WORD, the same is a perfect man,…” and again, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so!” Chapter 3:2&10.
We have the control over how we respond to one another. There is no such thing as “I can’t help it!” “It just slipped out before I could stop it!” Again Paul makes the point clear with this statement found in 1 Corinthians 10:13. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as it is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Sometimes we get in situations where someone comes up and just blasts us out of our socks with negativity and anger. At these times we may feel that we have a right to respond in kind. A friend of mine recently was discussing this same subject with me and he told me something important,
He said, “When someone does something like that we don’t have to allow that negativity onto our world. In fact, we don’t have to let ANY negativity into our world at all! Here is how we accomplish that. We simply take all that negative force and give it to God. In the meantime, bless and return love to that person, deep peacemaking, Christed love. In this way we have done two things. One, we have shielded ourselves from their onslaught and two, we have fulfilled Christ’s admonishment to love one another and in this process bless them.
There are bad things done in the world every day, murders, rapes, robberies, etc., but we don’t have allow then to affect us with their negativity. Even if someone does something terrible to us, hurts us, steals from us or whatever, if we can forgive that person and give the circumstances to God, in love, we can transmute (or change) that situation totally to a good and glory in God.
A hard road to travel? Not really my friend, for “I can do all things in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 4:13) As long as we have enough love and we walk close to Jesus we can accomplish anything. And if we truly have love in our hearts, should not our words and actions show it? As far as the Lord is concerned, I want to make good impression.
— Vance Payne