Today I was reading a page out of my devotional from Take Up and Read, and the lyrics of 10,000 Reasons started to play in my head. Particularly the line that goes You’re rich in love and slow to anger, your name is great and your heart is kind. This lyric, of course comes from Psalm 145.
I kept reading on in my devotional, trying to focus on the passage and reflection, but those words just kept coming back into my mind. I’m a stubborn one you see, and sometimes I’m deaf to the Spirit in my headstrong pursuit of finishing my prayers and getting things done. Yet the Spirit persisted, and finally, as I pondered what in the world the Lord was trying to speak to me today it dawned on me.
Is my gut reaction to situations, circumstances, and people rich in love & slow to anger?
Spoiler alert. It’s not.
Especially when it comes to loving people God has placed in my life, I get tunnel vision. Upon seeing that my little sister has used all my toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner, I immediately am enraged by her lack of consideration. Whenever I disagree with my boyfriend, I immediately strive to be “right” and prove him “wrong.” Whenever I’m late to something, I expect others to accommodate to my schedule instead being more prudent with my time. When those around me are falling to sin, I immediately judge them for not knowing better.
The bonus scripture in my devotional today is from 2 Corinthians: 7-8. It says “you should FORGIVE and ENCOURAGE him instead or else the person might be overwhelmed by excessive pain. Therefore, I urge yo to reaffirm your love for him.” I looked this verse up on biblehub.com, which provides the Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and English translation for bible verses. Unfortunately, since the bible has been translated multiple times, some of the meaning actually gets lost in translation. Anyways, in the Greek translation of this verse, I discovered that instead of using love, in a philia(friendship love) sense, Paul was love in an agape sense.
What is agape? Christ like love. Sacrificial love in which one lays their life down for the good of another. Paul was urging us not to just pat someone on the back and say it’s okay to sin or scream and shame a person when they mess up, but to instead remind them that they were worth dying for. That the God of the universe was so in love with them and couldn’t stand the idea of eternity without them, so he bore their sins and those of the whole world, so that if we choose to love Him and live for Him in this life. . . we obtain Him in the eternal life.
For me personally, I don’t need someone dog piling on the criticisms and critiques when I mess up. Honestly, I dig myself in a hole of shame most times. I beat myself up because I know better than to turn my back on the Lord. That’s what the devil wants to see happen too. He wants to see us subject our self to excessive pain, and focus on our shortcoming instead of on our Savior.
We live in the world, but were called to not be of the world. Sometimes that can be hard when we are surrounded by so many voices that seek to distract us and pull us away from our God. Instead of being one more voice of criticism and negativity, what if we could be the one voice that calls others to a life rich in love and abundant in joy? Encouraging our brothers and sisters to be all they were created to be, and leading them to Christ Divine Mercy?