I didn’t know how I could possibly let love win.
“Just say what you mean!” my co-worker snipped at me from across the table at our breakfast meeting. Her bluntness intensified the friction, already chaffing our mismatched personalities. We partnered on a project, but the command to “love your neighbor” seemed beyond my reach.
I stabbed another bite of chocolate chip pancakes rather than unleash my candor. My face flushed warmer than my tepid coffee. If my words matched my emotions, I knew I’d have to apologize later. So instead, I served up tactful prose laced with syrup and salvaged our work rapport. The meeting ended with stiff smiles. But underneath, my emotions simmered in a soup of self-justification and resentment.
Later that week, a jolt of conscience hit me. My co-worker’s face flashed through my mind during my devotion time when I read Paul’s declaration, “Love must be sincere.” My diplomacy had pacified our conflict, but had I loved her with sincerity?
Paul presents a high standard. First, his command requires sacrificial love—the same grace-wrapped love God gives us through Jesus’ sacrificial death. Second, he emphasizes it must be sincere, meaning without play-acting. My sugary politeness at breakfast felt like straight-up hypocrisy.
Just as my toe hurts when it cracks against the table leg, my emotions sting at a punch to my ego. Yet God commands me to surpass my feelings and steer my will to a loving response. With God’s grace, I must sacrifice my ego to let love win.
I remembered that my co-worker had described her stress of caring for elderly parents while under constant criticism from her family. I parked at this thought and recognized the wound that soured her demeanor. My attitude pivoted with a new context. Sincere compassion slid to the forefront and trumped my resentment.
When we interact with someone difficult to love, we can begin with a step toward humility—a readiness to set aside ego for sacrificial love. Next, we can pray for a perspective that helps reframe our emotions. Finally, we can serve up a big helping of grace. When we do these things, we’re on the way for sincere love to claim center stage.
What steps can you take to let love win?
(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)