Allow love to grow
My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
1 John 4:11-12 (The Message)
God sent his Son to live and die for us. Everyone is included in his all-encompassing love. As we grasp this we cannot help but respond to him in love. Yet the truth is we often struggle to love each other, and one of the reasons is that we don’t understand each other. It is possible for us to show love to other people without knowing very much about them, however, for relationships to grow, it helps to understand them. When we don’t, we tend to make assumptions and misjudgements, which become obstacles to loving one another.
Let me tell you about two minutes of my life that remind me to stop for a moment when I’m faced with something I don’t understand.
Driving through the countryside from the Rosslare ferry to a business appointment in Dublin and rounding a bend I saw a long stretch of straight road ahead that sloped gently down to a valley and rose up to another hill. Looking up at the brow of the hill, a man suddenly stepped out from the left and stood in the middle of the road, his arms outstretched as if to stop the traffic.
As I wondered what calamity had occurred, a car coming from the opposite direction swooped past the man and sped down the hill towards us; the driver had just ignored him. I know this can be a callous society, but this was appalling behaviour; the man clearly needed help. There was no chance for me to express my opinion of the driver however, as we passed each other at a combined speed of 100 miles an hour.
As I pronounced a silent sentence on the driver for his heartless behaviour, the man in the road just put his hands down and walked off, and as he disappeared from sight, a small shaggy dog emerged and stepped into the road. To my astonishment it was followed closely by a very large fat pig; silhouetted against the sky, the pair crossed the road and vanished from sight.
It seems this had not been an emergency at all and for all I knew, every day this scruffy hound escorted pigs, sheep, cows, ducks and other assorted farm animals across the road under the watchful eye of this traffic director in wellington boots. I had completely misunderstood the signals. The other driver had not.
I learnt from this strange incident that when I am faced with someone doing something I don’t understand, I have to ask myself a question: am I as unaware of the facts as I was of the unspoken language of this countryside area? God made us all different and there is no avoiding the fact that God didn’t give us automatic understanding of each other, so rather than make a horrible misjudgement of someone we must take time to allow love to grow.
We pray, Father, that we may be led by your Spirit to be alert to our false assumptions about each other before they do harm, and to allow your caring love for each other to blossom in us.
Study by Hilary Buck
About the writer:
Hilary Buck is an Elder and pastors Grace Communion in Lewes.
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Grace Communion in Lewes
The House of Friendship
208 High Street
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