Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 14 – Choose to Accept, Choose to Sacrifice

Yesterday we looked at the first two of the four choices we need to make. In Chapter 14, Tom Holladay gives us the final two choices we must make.

1. Choose to Fellowship
2. Choose to Forgive
3. Choose to Accept
4. Choose to Sacrifice

Choose to Accept

“Accept on another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” – Romans 15:7

To love as Jesus loved us requires us to accept each other, faults and all, just as we are. Many times we think our relationships would improve if we were all more similar. But instead, relationships improve when we accept our differences. Tom points out that often we confuse acceptance with forgiveness. When we have a legitimate disagreement with someone, how we react will influence our future relationship with that person. We need to accept the person for our differences, not forgive them for being different.

Choose to Sacrifice

Sacrifices do not have to be life altering events. In fact, I agree with Tom that the daily sacrifices we make in our relationships are much more important. And as Tom points out, many of them will be done without anyone even knowing you made them.

Showing love requires everyone to make sacrifices. They can be as simple as where you go to eat, what movie you choose to see, or who has to clean the bathroom. Or maybe it is something more demanding, like moving to a new town when your spouse finds a new job. We do them because nothing is more important than our relationship.

When making sacrifices starts to become difficult, Tom provides some reminders to refocus our thoughts. Chances are, if you’ve ever been to a wedding, this will be something you’ve heard before. The ideas come from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

4.Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5.It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. 6.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1. Be Patient – I think Tom was speaking directly to me with this one. The examples in the book were spot on. While I’ve never driven around the block while waiting for my kids to remember they need to put shoes on to go to the store, I have gone out and sat in the car. Another thing I have the tendency to do is finish peoples sentences. In the past I’ve justified it to myself as showing I understand what they are trying to tell me, but the reality is I’m probably just being impatient.

2. Be Kind – This reminds us that often kindness is expressed in the little things that we do. When we show kindness we meet a person’s need in a practical way. Tom provides many examples of how we can do this in our daily lives.

3. Don’t Be Proud - I love this quote from the book, “If you felt truly secure in God’s love for you, you would have nothing to envy, you wouldn’t need to boast, and you wouldn’t have to build your ego by feeding it heaping helpings of pride” (pg 129).

4. Don’t Be Selfish – Verse 5 above gives some warning signs of being selfish. Choosing to be unselfish requires a daily commitment to take the focus off of ourselves and put it on our relationships.

5. Don’t Give Up – Verse 7 gives us the most important trait of love – it hopes and it perseveres. No matter how tough our relationships get, love can outlast the difficulties. Fortunately, when Jesus commanded to “Love one another, as I have loved you,” he provided many examples and teachings for us to learn from. Over the last seven days, we’ve discussed many of the examples that Tom Holladay has provided in his book. Starting tomorrow we will begin looking at the third relationship principle – Communicate from the Heart.

Day 15 - Communication Isn't Easy

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