Midweek Moment: November 18, 2020
Ben Valentine

The turbulence of this season has resulted in strong feelings coming to the surface for many of us, causing strains in relationships between friends, family, and fellow believers.

While it can be easy to be swept up into the currents around us, it’s important to pause and remember that the Primary Job of the Church is to Love Well – to love God, love each other, and love the world. While we may be tempted to reject this as a naive, utopian dream, self-giving, agape love remains a foundational teaching of Christianity.

As we seek to follow Jesus in this cultural moment, here are 5 Practices for Loving Well in an Age of Contempt:

  1. Ask for a Daily Infilling of the Holy Spirit. If we don’t have a good private life with God, we’re not going to have a good public life with people. A self-powered love can’t survive COVID, political unrest, hard conflict in relationships, or even a Facebook argument! We need the Holy Spirit.
  2. Put on a “New lens” for people. Pray to see people with the dignity and value that God sees in them instead of pre-judging them based on our cultural categories or personal preferences.
  3. Be Fully Present. Jesus saw and heard people, he didn’t simply pass them by. As David Augsberger said, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” 
  4. Filter with the Fruit. Are my thoughts, words, and actions in line with the Fruit of the Spirit? (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control).
  5. Process UP, then out. Instead of reacting when someone triggers something in you, bring that reaction to God. This is what intimacy with the Father looks like. Ask him to help you see if it’s a thought from him or if it’s a past wound or immaturity expressing itself in hurt, pride, or defensiveness. After that, let God guide your next steps.

In all of this, we remember that when it comes to love, you can only give what you’ve got. We love, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Grace and Peace,