Love is more than just one word.

Did you ever feel God’s finger tapping your shoulder as you hear His gentle whisper

“ahem…”

Yes…. ahem. Open your heart. Teachable moment… ahem… ahead. That was God’s voice speaking to me this morning as I read…

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:25).

And the following words came to mind right behind it…

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Perfectionists tend to be life’s biggest critics. Paranoid perfectionists are the worst. Those of us who always fear that we will make a mistake not only see the mistakes of life around us, those errors are magnified and amplified as if everything is our fault, our issue, and up to us to fix. 🙂

Paranoid perfectionists have a really hard time living Romans 14. We are our own worst enemy. We see the faults and we judge the motives of others through our microscopically mistake-focused lenses. The bad is clear; the good becomes blurry. There’s one huge issue with this perspective; we can’t see the heart. Only God can. We can’t see the true intent. That’s up to God. But, because so many times the wrongs become so magnified, our view becomes out of focus and distorted from God’s true reality for our lives as His child. He is perfect love, and His love covers. When we try to see both the bad and the good from our distorted perspective… well…

…we see the bad.

And that’s so bad. 😦

Pray without ceasing. Pray constantly AND, with that…

Forgive without ceasing. Forgive constantly because of LOVE.

It’s not that hard to “pray.” It’s not even that hard to “pray” consistently. What IS hard is to forgive and, not only forgive, but CONSTANTLY forgive and forgive and…

Forgive. Seventy times seven times. For starters.

Life is meant to be filled with God’s love for others because of God’s immeasurable love for us, but we miss it so often because we focus on the negative issues of life instead of making the intentional decision to focus on the bountiful opportunities to love. We see the tiny misshaped piece of bark on the tree rather than enjoying the panoramic view of the entire beautiful forest, waiting to be embraced in all of its God-created beauty.

It’s time for us, the paranoid perfectionists, the perpetual pleasers, the proud pre-occupied problem-solvers, to take our frowning eyes off the pettyness and turn smiling eyes of God’s love on…

everyone around us.

The ones that Jesus died and rose for. The ones that we need to love, in spite of themselves, just like Jesus loves us…

in spite of ourselves.

Someone once said: “When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical.”

How selfish – how PROUD – how insensitive we can be. As the index figure points outward from our hand, remaining fingers point inward. Yes, the truth… is true. As we gaze around us and wonder why WE aren’t accepted, maybe it’s time to turn that vantage point internally so we can see that it’s WE who are unaccept-ING…?

It’s very easy to see someone’s else’s pride and very hard to see the reflection, which is our own… pride. It takes one… to know one. A skunk smells his own hole first. If you see it in others, be sure it exists rampantly in yourself. Gulp. We must swallow our pride. We can’t be proud and show genuine love at the same time, because God hates pride. He hates it!! We have to hate it too.

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie

Ouch. The last fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians is self-control and, by the time the initial eight are recited, the result should be a self-controlled spirit. Should be. Not could be. Self-control is essential to understanding and forgiveness as love remains first on that list.

I found it interesting that Mark 12:33, where the religious teacher affirms Jesus’ statement about the greatest commandment: “To love him (God) with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices”, is just one page over from Mark 11:25 in my Bible. Love. The greatest commandment of GOD.

Love = forgive, and we can’t pray unless we do. Always. Constantly. You can’t be thankful and complain. You can’t love without forgiving, and you can’t pray without having the attitude of Christ: LOVE.

This is the equation of life: LOVE = GOD. GOD = LOVE. Live it, and don’t forget it.

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.” – Benjamin Franklin

Yup. We sure do.

Hey. Fool. Isn’t about time we seek God’s best, without ceasing and constantly? 😀

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About sandypdot

Life is a journey - Enjoy it!
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