Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Mid-Week Message - Setting the Example

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."  Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)

I am a Starbucks fan.  Yes, I am one of those people that is willing to pay entirely too much for a cup of coffee.  Except, I don't see it that way.  For me, it is a treat.  Something special that I don't have to share with anyone else.  Aside from the coffee though, I enjoy how I am treated there.  Even when they are extremely busy they take the time to talk to me and make me feel special.  I enjoy that.  We all do, don't we?  

Being treated kindly is appealing to everyone.  Occasionally, if I can, I will pay the bill for the person in line behind me and ask for the barista to tell them I said, "God bless you."  I'm not trying to impress anyone, just bless someone.  It has been done for me before and I know how surprising and nice it feels.  If I can brighten someone else's day then it is worth the extra amount I pay.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to turn on the evening news and hear about how kind people were to each other rather than the stories of robberies and murders?  Now that is the kind of news I would never turn off.  I find myself shedding tears over the few reports we see of kindnesses paid.  How I wish there were more.

During the last couple of weeks I witnessed unthinkable acts being perpetrated by persons in leadership positions.  Their actions were driven by anger and they didn't care how many people got hurt or who they were.  The only thing that was important was that their own agenda was advanced. There was no kindness, no compassion, no forgiveness. And the really sad thing is that many of those people confess to believing in Jesus.

I wonder how grieved the Father must be to witness this type of behavior on what is now a regular basis. Too many people allow frustration, worry and negativity toward others to run their lives.  As we drive down the road we see aggressive drivers and hear horns blaring.  Standing in line in the grocery store we hear offensive language as people wait.  Children disrespect their elders because the elders disrespect each other.  Television, movies and other media are filled with hate and violence.  Gone are the innocent days for any of us, including our children.

It is up to those of us that love Jesus and worship Him as our Lord to obey His Word.  We are the ones that need to set the tone.  Loving those around us, practicing kindness, exhibiting compassion and watching our own attitudes and words is where we can begin.  I know how easy it is to fall into the ways of the world.  The question of "What Would Jesus Do" is a good way to redirect ourselves.  We are to be examples of the love that was shown to us.  

I pray that this week would be eye-opening for each of us as we notice what is going on around us and what is happening in our own minds and lives.  My heart is full of love for each of you and I pray that everyone can see and hear that in my actions and words.  You matter to me.  God bless you.

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