The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe...
"The Path of Love"
In our personal relationships, we tend to receive what we give.
"A man that hath friends must show himself friendly" (Proverbs 18:24).
Notable exceptions exist, as confirmed by the experience of the Lord Jesus Christ. He loved all, but received a sorrowful and suffering death as His reward. Similar discrepancies occur in our lives as people don't always requite the kindness we bestow (nor do we ourselves always respond to graciousness as we should). Still, the norm of our lives results in people responding to us in accordance with how we act toward them. The countenance, demeanor, and attitude we radiate tends to return to us in reflection. We often receive what we give.
In those times when we don't experience a good response from people, we can be sure our Heavenly Father steps in to pick up the slack. A friend recently shared the experience of bestowing much patience and graciousness on a difficult person who refused to respond in kind (one of those "notable exceptions"). My friend, a believer, knows that God calls her to be who she is in and through Christ regardless of how others treat her. "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men... Honor all" (I Thessalonians 3:12; I Peter 2:17). The situation was very difficult, but my sister experienced the Lord's gracious enabling whereby she remained true to Him, to herself, and to the person she loved who did not love her. Doubtless our Heavenly Father bestowed a measure of peace and deep inner joy amid the challenging encounter, a peace and joy reserved for those who tread the path of love paved by nail-pierced Feet. "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor" (Ephesians 5:2).
When pondering this subject, I try to remember how unlovable I have often been (and still am) in my relationship with our Heavenly Father. He loves me nevertheless in a faithful devotion whereby He remains true to His nature regardless of my response to Him. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). This is who He is, and He cannot be other. This is also who He calls me to be as His trusting child in Christ. We don't always receive in kind what we give to people. We must give nevertheless, granting the same grace to others we have received and continue to receive from our Father. He will not disappoint us as we do, and the peace and joy of Christ will fill our hearts regardless of the response we receive - or don't receive - from people.
"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men."
"We also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you."
(II Corinthians 13:4)