As a Loving Father Does…
Have you ever wanted someone’s love and been rejected? Have you ever worked SO hard for acceptance or praise only to come up empty-handed? It hurts. That pain often results in bitterness that quickly takes root in the pride of my heart.
Bitterness thrives in the soil of pride. It is a vicious weed as it chokes and consumes. Try as I might, I can’t kill it.
As a loving Father does, God sat me down today for a serious heart to heart. What is the greatest commandment? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-38).
Love God first. Love others.
I have been consumed with trying to please and earn the love and praise of some. I have been shooting at the wrong target. The goal is to love God and others the way He has commanded.
“But Father,” I said to God, “I am trying to love them and it is not reciprocated! It hurts because I care TOO much!”
In that moment it was as if God gently took my hand. “Yes, child, you do care too much. You care too much about YOU, not about THEM.” Ooooouch. “I discipline because I love you,” He whispered into my wounded heart with a gentleness as soft as a kiss.
God has shown me that the motive of my interactions with some is pride fueled. I want to please so that they think well of me. I want to be loved so that I feel good.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
It is time to redirect.
I need to stop striving to please men and trying to earn their praise. There is something to be said for a good name (Proverbs 22:1), but the only name I need be wanting to receive glory is His.
I need to pray more faithfully for those that cause pain (be it mindfully or unknowingly). Jesus discussed doing so in Matthew 5:43-48.
I need to remember that I am constantly forgiven MUCH and be quick to give forgiveness and grace to others (Ephesians 4:32 & Colossians 3:13).
I need be thankful for the many people who I am blessed to call friends (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
And, most of all, I need to remember that this battle of my flesh is EXACTLY why I need Jesus everyday (Hebrews 4:16)! I can’t do any of these things without Him!
God is the great Physician, but He is the ultimate gardener as well! Because of His great love, He destroys the weeds that so easily overtake. With their removal we thrive and grow in His Light so that all may see Him.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” 2 Peter 3:18