Thursday, August 25, 2011

loving people

You know, people can be hard to love, very hard.  Our Pastor has a prayer blog and this one really struck me (many if not all do).  Very relevant for me...

A Prayer for Grace to Love All Kinds of People
     And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:16–19
     Lord Jesus, I’m arrested today by our call to love all kinds of people in all kinds of situations all the time—the confirming mark of true discipleship (John 13:34). No calling exposes my need for the gospel more than the command to love well. This would be an unbearableburden if you didn’t love us as you do. We love you, and anybody, only because you first loved us.  
     Because of your great love for us, Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid of anything, especially dying and facing judgment. For your cross is judgment day for all who trust in you. Hallelujah! You took the punishment we deserve for all the ways we dishonor God, including the ways we love so poorly. We are so thankful we can collapse, rely and draw upon the love you have for us. May your perfect love continue to drive out all our fears.  In this hope, here’s my plea, Jesus.
     Help me to love the members of my immediate family in fresh and creative ways. At the same time, they’re the easiest and the hardest people to love. Sometimes we thoroughly enjoy each other and celebrate each other’s uniqueness; other times, it’s our diversity which creates tensions and conflicts, and a need for your gentling grace. Bring your kindness, compassion, patience, and perseverance to bear. Help me to provoke members of my family to love and good deeds, and not just provoke them by my pettiness and brokenness.
     Jesus, grant me grace for loving my friends well. Help me not take any of them for granted. Forgive me when I want friendship to be simply a mutual admiration society rather than a community of groaning, grace, and growth. Grant me strength for loving the irritating people in my life—those who are easy to avoid and hard to forbear. Remind me that I’m that very person to others. Grant me wisdom for loving foolish people in my life—the ones presently making destructive choices, the ones I’m mad at right now. By your Spirit, remove the log in my eye that I might use gospel-tweezers on their specks.
     Grant me compassion for loving the depressed and grieving people in my life. My default mode is to try to fix them and make them happy, but I know that’s not really what they need from me. Grant me humility for loving the poor, the orphans and widows, the marginalized, “the least and the lost,” for among them I will surely find you, Lord Jesus.
     Lord Jesus, continue to reveal to us the width, length, height and depth of your love for us (Eph. 3:18-19). There is no other way we will be able to love others as you command. So very Amen we pray, in your kind and powerful name.
Scotty Smith
Pastor for Preaching
Christ Community Church
1215 Hillsboro Rd.
Franklin, TN  37069
It's good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace Hebrews 13:9

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