This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you...John 15:12
The above words in John were said by Jesus. That is a difficult order to fill sometimes, but He said this to His intimate group of followers; I consider myself one. Life on earth presents challenges to this command every single day.
Something happened recently that made my pride rear its ugly self. Fortunately, I kept it quietly contained in my head, until....the truth of love inside my heart could dominate.
It really doesn't matter what the details were; I think it is sufficient it to say it was a personal issue with someone close to me. Relationships are often where pride tries to step in and take over. In this instance, it seemed to me that the other person did not respond to something in the way I desired.
They probably were not even aware they did anything to offend me!
Pride wanted me to lash back at them with a defensive retort, or better yet, to "pay them back" with an indefinite period of silence. I mulled these options over in my head: silent treatment, or sarcastic comeback, but neither really felt right. Both seemed a very negative way that would only catapult the situation into a heightened degree of discomfort.
Time with Jesus has shown me how very important it is not to act out of emotion, but to hold my words, until....they can be spoken in gentleness.
As time went by I fumed as I rehearsed the scene. I thought, "I did nothing to prompt those actions that hurt me. Why did that person respond like they did? Shouldn't I confront them in some way?"
I prayed, I listened for God's divine direction....I waited.
One day I heard clearly that I was to reach out in love to this person, even if they had "failed me". I was to contact them and say only nice, loving words, and I was to keep them in a smooth, soft tone. I was not to put the other person on the defensive; I was not to bring up the prior event...."What?"
Did it really matter that this person had committed a "perceived wrong" in my eyes? It was, in actuality, a most insignificant thing. I love this person, and I truly did not want to create any potential conflict with words of offense from my own mouth. I also know that quite often, cold unspoken words of prolonged silence can contribute major confusion to a relationship, heightening its dynamics into a situation that is miserably uncomfortable.
I ended up phoning this person and not mentioning that anything was wrong. I was just checking on a person that I love, to see how they were doing.
By the time I called, the perceived issue in which I had been hurt had been totally replaced by the love Jesus has put into my heart as a reborn creation.
Everything went well; I felt good. Humbling myself, to reach out in selfless love, was the right thing to do, because....it is His way.