Respond in Love
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
od’s love indwells our hearts, and love is a weapon the enemy doesn’t possess. We are empowered with Holy Spirit fueled strength when we respond to difficult circumstances with love for God as our primary aim along with a determination to love others with His love.
We will sometimes fail. Other people may come against us with words that are devastatingly hurtful, and before we have a chance to pray about how to respond, we react. In the first pain of an unexpected hurtful event, we may discredit ourselves with harsh responses we later regret. When this happens it is important not to lock ourselves into a course of action we should not take as pride tempts us to follow through with some rash threat uttered in the heat of an emotion-fueled response. Once the storm of anger and hurt clears, we must return to the Lord and follow His directives. Otherwise we risk becoming accomplices to the devil’s plan, and His plan is to destroy us. Pride will prohibit us from taking the escape route God will provide, and so we must cast it off.
Heartsore and weary, having donned humility that may be laced with a bitter edge of shame, we return to sit at Jesus’ feet. Our responses to injury may have moved us to actions that have overshadowed the wrongs dealt us, and we have to ask Him to cover for us… again. We pray to do better with our responses next time we are blindsided by an unexpected hurt, and even more fervently, we pray that such heartache doesn’t ever happen again. We begin to understand that peace with God and our fellow human beings is about finding our respite in Him rather than taking it for ourselves. It is about finding our acceptance in Him rather than trying to win it from others. And it is about receiving love from God first so that we have love to give to others, and so are not needy before them.
Some people in our lives are connected with bonds too deep for us to access. We are unable to keep cool heads and a dispassionate hearts toward these loved ones with whom we share ties so intricately woven through memory and time that we can't trace the individual strands. When we sin in our responses to precious people who know us best and thus have ammunition to hurt us most, we can rest in the peace of the knowledge that we are perfectly loved by the Lord whose power can repair what we have broken and what has been broken in us.
Pray: Lord let me find my respite, acceptance, and love in You. Help me to seek You first for my heart’s needs so I’m not needy or demanding of other human beings. Teach me how to refrain from sinning with my words and actions when I’m angry. Please enable me to respond to hurtful words with your love rather than reacting out of my own pain. Please protect my heart from further hurt, and protect others from being hurt by me, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
…for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.