This morning, I accompanied my eldest to her last first day of school placement for college, one of our family traditions.
I didn’t count on being jolted out of my sleep on the comfy bus by somebody angling their seat in front of me right into my knee. Coz apparently she missed seeing there was someone behind her.
It hurt. I immediately awoke and said, “There isn’t any more room, I am tall sitting behind you.”
The woman didn’t move her seat back to upright or acknowledge me in any way. Which shocked me as I was apparently loud enough to wake my daughter up beside me.
Did you see what just happened there?
I grumbled. Murmured. Became discontent in the blink of an eye.
A few instances after that, once I was fully awake, I forgave the woman, and kind of asked myself why. Not in a flippant way, but part of me has always wanted to know why we need to forgive one another beyond what we are told in the Word. (freedom and release)
God whispered Love.
That got my attention.
Love? What does my forgiving a complete stranger have to do with love?
Then in a flash of “duh,” for it was still before 7 am, I understood.
If God so loved the world (which we know is true) that out of His love He sent Jesus to save us from sin, and we are His and to be filled with His love to show one another….then when we forgive one another, we are actually loving them as Jesus did. How he still does.
For God so loved the woman on the bus who whacked my knee that He sent Jesus for her. And as His Beloved, I am to show that love through my actions and reactions. Just one of which is to forgive.
But here’s the other part of the love bomb God dropped into my heart this morning.
When I forgive others, I am also taking care of my temple and showing myself love and respect. Which God also desires for us all to do.
For He loves us enough to save us, cleanse us, cover us, restore and guide us, doesn’t He?
I am to love all whom God loves.
Complete strangers and myself included.
I am to love that which God loves.
Phillippians 4:8-9 reminds us what He wants for us to be loving:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received, and heard and seen, practice these things. And the God of peace will be with you.
The Message version puts that same verse into a more direct arrow right into my heart:
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies.
We need to begin putting into practice the love God has showed us. And stop grumbling when
For there will always be slights hurts, sudden shocks, bad news and injustice in this world, as long as we are not all walking with Jesus, until He comes again.
But there is an end day in sight, and we are not left alone in this fight for love.
God loved us first and His way to love is for our best.
As His face out there in this hurting and broken world, we need to ask for His love to flow through us, even when we don’t want to.
For that person you forgive may just be the person He is next wooing to Himself, and your response may be the seed He wants planted.
His love isn’t just a warm cozy blankie you keep to yourself. It’s a passionate pursuing love which looks past our grumbling and hurts into the hidden places of the heart desperate for a drink of hope, purpose, love, Home.
Our part is to overflow His love wherever we go.
Leaving our muttering aside, even on Mondays.