thankfulness if loving
In today’s world Love is still the least expected response – especially in situations of hurt or injustice. So often we feel that someone has to be seen to pay and suffer for what they did that was hurtful; hence this morning on Breakfast emails and texts were coming in demanding a return to the death penalty to deter a rise in capital crimes. After years of political correctness and the so-called Aquarian age we’re no closer to a compassionate response to offence.
We Christians appear to be not a lot better – in parts of the world agreement with the death sentence is seen as a hallmark of evangelical christianity. Have we not learned that all sentences have been paid so that the way could be paved to a more gracious and forgiving response even to violent and capital crimes.
In his letters Paul often refers to the early Christian community as comprising those who had once been murderers, thieves, prostitutes and the like but the startling grace of God had caused a wave of gratitude that liberated them from old, destructive habits and lifestyles choices.
Are we still capable of being so thankful to God for His immense and free grace that our “natural response to hurt and offence is that we seek a path of forgiveness; to love as we have been loved by the Cosmic Lover, whose nature this season reveals to be love – first and foremost? When those you love challenge you or work out their frustration on you, do you join the fray with your own arguments and cheap shots, or do you stop, breathe, consider and then offer a response that comes of loving gratitude for what God has done in the death and the resurrection of Jesus.
Love is also the prime motivator for generous service of those we find to be in need – and that flows from a sense of Him who took on the demeaning appearance of a slave that we might live in an eternal, undying, immovable freedom. We love because we have been first loved, we serve because we have been served.