Enter a trip to Walmart! Not my favorite place on a good day, but a necessary stop on an errand run for my Mother in law that afternoon. We ran into one of my sisters, and began chatting in front of the paper towels about everyone’s trips to the doctor and about a mutual friend who had died earlier that week. It was serious conversation for Walmart, but it happened.
Well, it turns out another Walmart shopper was having a bad day too. She made a very rude and impatient reference to her friend about our being in her way, because apparently she needed said paper towels. So, instead of me saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” and just moving, I said, in my most sarcastic Terri voice, “You could’ve said excuse me. My mom taught me that a long time ago, it’s called manners!” as I rolled my eyes and moved my cart…
Now, before you judge me, I was sick, I was tired, I was overwhelmed, Oh, but yes, I am a Christian…A Christian currently studying how loving others looks! BIG FAIL! Then came the remorse, the wish for a do over, and huge disappointment in myself and my reaction.
Well, don’t you know, God was paying attention, as He does, as he placed said woman in the checkout line right beside me. As I am loading bags into the cart, facing the people coming through the checkout beside me, there she is! So, here’s where the rubber met the road. I knew what I had to do. I also knew it could be disastrous. She could’ve hit me, or at least yelled at me and made a scene. But I didn’t really hesitate. I knew what I needed to do. I approached her and said,” I owe you an apology. I had no right to be such a smart mouth and I am sorry” She replied, “No, all I had to do was say excuse me, and I should have. But, thank you so much for coming over here. And we both said “It’s Walmart!” and exchanged smiles and” have a good days”…We went our separate ways.
And I said,” OK God, I blew it. I’m sorry and I pray to do better walking this walk.”
Because my words, those I speak and all these words I write, are empty without action. He certainly gave me something to write about! Not my proudest moment, but one that created humility, a huge life lesson and definitely something to teach about!
Matthew 22:35-40 goes like this….
35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
When Jesus referred to the whole Law of the Prophets depending on these two commandments He meant that all other commandments are contained in these two. The purpose of the Law is to guide us and to remind us to love God and to love people. Our love for God is motivated by His Holy Spirit. We love Him out of gratitude for how he first loved us.
Our love for others flows from that love and is how the world sees the love of God in us.
John 13:34-35 also speaks of the two great commandments but adds the importance of loving others as proof that we are disciples…
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
So, how are we displaying love? Is there evidence that we are disciples of Jesus Christ based on how we are loving others?
It’s not easy loving those who we deem undeserving, but it is a command that we cannot ignore. We know that we, too are unlovable at times, yet Romans 5:8 tells us that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” What better demonstration of love could we experience? Who am I to count someone unworthy of love, even in a moment?
None of us deserves the love of Christ that is grace, but we receive it as a free gift. I am so grateful that His mercies are new every morning. We won't always get it right, but as we grow in our love for God, we will begin to love others better.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, search my heart and remove what grieves you. Enable me to love others better. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
In my next few posts, I will continue to talk about loving others as we look at who these others are and what this love should look like…..