Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…
I finish reading Romans 12:10-13 and ask Myself, “What does it mean to ‘be devoted to one another in brotherly love’? How do I remain devoted to loving others who are unloving towards Me? How do I refrain from becoming unloving towards them?”
“Love them anyway,” Myself replies.
“Easier said than done,” sneaks in Me.
“How do I do that without the wrong motives?” I ask.
...give preference to one another in honor...
“Focus on loving the unloving through meaningful, vertical intangibles,” says Myself.
“Wow, that’s way too many words for Me,” complains Me. “You lost Me at ‘focus.’”
“Better tell Me more,” I return.
“Give and do nothing overtly tangible. Other people may not understand why I am not acting outwardly toward them as I did before with words or signs of affection or spending time with them. That’s okay. Love makes little sense at times. Unmasked love exposes its nonsensical nature. Sometimes a healthy distance is the best way to show love.”
“Then what?” I wonder.
...not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord...
“Pick up the pace and serve God with my spiritual gifts and talents,” Myself continues. “Before picking up the pace, it may be necessary to pick up some broken pieces. I may have to set aside a few treasures—experiences and events I shared with these people.”
“That sounds like I’m rejecting them or giving up too much.”
“Not really. At the moment, see these cherished experiences and events as heirlooms I hope to share more widely again one day. For now, keep them shelved and preserved. Again, some may not understand why. Their questions are valid, but the answer probably wouldn’t satisfy them. Maybe it helps to say God is repairing this part of my heritage. To use it now would be to reflect a false representation of what it is meant to be. Rather than being an encouragement, true worship would be hindered. Instead, view the opportunities God has given as a new form of worship. It may take Me a little while to catch on to how God wants Me to catch up to Him on this particular path. It’s a good thing. He knows I have an asthmatic faith at times. He will slow down if I start sputtering and give Me a pep talk.”
“Such as?” challenges Me.
...rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
“God, in all His wisdom, knows a vertical focus on Him results in a divine transfer of His love for Me and my love for Him to those I encounter on Earth’s horizontal plane.”
“Let’s break it down, so I get what each of these action items means.” I suggest.
“Good idea.” Me agrees.
“’Rejoicing in hope’ is a continual going back to joy again and again while hoping for the relationship’s improvement.
“‘Persevering in tribulation’ means enduring through the past trouble’s ramifications, present obstacles, and future schemes.
“Remaining ‘devoted to prayer’ assures one form of communication stays open—the one between God and Me."
“But, isn’t there some way to show love outwardly?” I ask.
“Yes, by directing love indirectly through tangible means.”
“Huh?” Me questions.
“’Contributing to the needs of the saints’ is not just stepping back for them to serve and stepping up my own service. It also requires serving the needs of family and friends together by solving our own differences, keeping others out of it as much as possible. If others have been included, it is essential to free them from the obligation of taking a side. If they want to help, we ask them to join us in the first three meaningful, vertical intangibles of rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, and being devoted to prayer.
“’Practicing hospitality’ requires welcoming everyone, including those who have been unloving. Just because they have shut their door to direct tangible expressions of love doesn’t mean I slam and deadbolt all my doors against them.”
“But, what about protecting Myself from more hurt?” quakes Me.
“I can’t allow them into my personal spaces, especially if they continue to invade my privacy while evading resolution.”
“But, I must not deter them from entering our shared spaces. They may not want Me there, and some days I may feel the same about them. Yet, I have No Choice about keeping those doors unlocked and propped open.”
“That doesn’t sound as simple…” I begin.
“…as it doesn’t sound,” Me interrupts. “Good grief, woman! You’ll be lucky if anyone reads all the way to the end of this post. Also how come more of the work falls on Me?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” I quip.
“So unfair! Get to the point.”
“Very well. Here’s the point,” redirects Myself. “The beauty of these meaningful, vertical intangibles is the unloving have no control over them. They may not be aware…”
“…or care…” (That’s Me again.)
“…at first about the influence my personal relationship with God is having on them. They can do nothing to stop that influence. But, there is another thing they can’t stop as long as Me, Myself, and I are in agreement.”
“What?” I say.
“They can’t stop Me from loving them anyway.”
“Unless?” Me asks.
“I let them.”
Love never gives up. 1 Corinthians 13:4b