Monday, September 27, 2010

The Power of Perfect Love

Is there anything worse than being misunderstood?  What a slap in the face it is to have someone completely misunderstand your actions....especially when they were pure and for the benefit of others.  What do you do when you have followed God's will and instead of everything working out for all parties involved you are utterly thrust into a really sticky situation full of raw human emotions and pain?  What you thought would bring joy and blessings seems to have brought pain and discouragement.

Today I read Isaiah 53: 8,"But He(Jesus) was struck down for the rebellion of my people." and vs 12, "He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels."  I was drawn to the word 'rebel' and "rebellion."  I couldn't escape the word or get it out of my mind.  I read the entire chapter a couple of times to get a better meaning........finally I saw where the Lord was taking me.  He was taking me to the garden of Gethsemane.....that lonely place that no one wants to go but every christ follower will be called to sooner or later.  It's the place of  the battle of our will.  What will we choose.....God's will or ours? Whom will we serve, ourselves or God?  What cause will we fight for, ours or the cause of Christ? Jesus had to answer these questions too....and they weren't exactly easy for Him either.  Especially in light of the fact that He was completely misunderstood and not just by His enemies, but those closest to Him (Matt. 16:21-23)

Pain inevitably follows misunderstandings and for whatever reason we always feel the need to make things "right" and be the peacemaker.  However, Jesus didn't opt for this peacemaker mentality in this particular situation.  He responded to Peter's chastisement with ,"Get behind me, satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."  Wow what a blow to Peter, or so it would seem.  However, if you re-examine the text, Jesus never spoke to Peter, He spoke to Satan!  Jesus' problem was not with Peter, but with Satan whom had deceived Peter.  Jesus addressed His response to the real problem at hand.  And so it should be with us.  When misunderstandings happen, and they will, remember to speak with love to the parties involved but refuse to allow Satan any access into the situation.  In your prayer times, remember to put him in his place and still love the person.  Intercede for the person, pray for them, and don't act out of pain or let your response do even more damage to the situation.  Remember that deception is probably involved at some level in the situation.

Perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18), or love that has reached full maturity.  A person that has reached "perfect" love is a person who is mature in their understanding of God's love and is allowing that love to operate through them.   Sometimes perfect love is holding your tongue instead of defending yourself, praying more and talking to others less, or thinking right thoughts instead of wrong ones. Perfect or mature love, is the only thing that can turn a really bad situation into something beautiful.  Want proof?  Just read about Peter's life AFTER the crucifixion.......he drastically changed for the better and became one of the pillars of our faith! If Jesus would have caved into Peter's fear and misunderstanding or anyone else's for that matter, you and I wouldn't be part of this great family of believers! Choose love over fear today :)

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