It’s all in the tone, the way you say it. It’s in the care, the way you do it. It’s the intention, the why behind what you are doing. We can do the actions, say the words, “walk the Christian walk” (so to speak) but how’s our attitude? Princesses, God is looking at your heart, not just your good behavior.
I’m one of those people who cannot hide what they are feeling. I’m like an essential oil diffuser – whatever is inside is going to come out, and spread throughout the house. People know when I’m happy, frustrated, tired, angry, etc. – even strangers! Needless to say, if my heart is not in the right place, my attitude stinks. I believe in Luke 6:45, where it says, “The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” In other words, for better or for worse, what is growing within us will be produced. God wants us to cultivate fruit to bless those around us, not weeds which choke and hurt others.
God tested my attitude recently when I had a friend stay with me for a week. For some reason, everything she did got on my last nerve. I was so irritated with her. She hadn’t done anything specific to upset me, it was a bit of everything, and God knows, I just wanted to be alone. I was tired, frustrated, and yet, that did not excuse me from behaving any way I wanted.
I’m sure Jesus was tired too carrying that cross. I’m sure he could have killed his tormentors in the blink of an eye, but no, He forgave. He forgave them, He forgave me, and He told me I needed to forgive and love my friend. I wanted my attitude to change on the outside, but I needed to first respond to the emotions within myself – to change the essential oils in this diffuser from sour to sweet fragrances.
So when she ate my food, I thanked God for blessing us with food and that I had enough food to share. When she hogged the TV to play video games, I took a deep breath and thanked the good Lord that she had time to relax and chill after a tough semester. When she did other things that ignited some unpleasant feelings, I blessed her. I served her. When I felt my voice rising in frustration, I stopped talking and stayed silent. I knew it was better for me to remain silent, then say something potentially hurtful because of my emotions. I still love my friend, you know. Moreover, God was teaching me to love, despite what I feel, to have a true attitude change on the inside so my external attitude towards her was good and kind.
Remember, everywhere we go, we represent Christ - in our home, at our job, at school, on the street, with strangers and with friends. I always think, are people getting to know the Lord based on how I am living? Is His kindness showing through my life? His love? His patience? His joy? If not, then I need to be closer to the Lord, and continue to learn and let Him change those areas in my heart. We aren't perfect, but it's so good to find those little ugly places inside of us, because then we can repent and welcome Holy Spirit into those areas, allowing God to do the work He wants to do in us. (2 Corinthians 7:10)
The Holy Spirit helped me, one day at a time, to keep my attitude in check. On the inside, my heart was a knotted ball of yarn, but He began to untangle the mess and what came out (through God’s grace) was a single, clean thread of kindness and gentleness towards her. Sure, there were times when I was tempted to speak how I felt, especially for some things she did and said, but God reminded me that He loves me when I am imperfect, and as He loves me, so I must love. In those moments, the words I wanted to say would have been weeds and not fruit.
“And now these three
remain:faith, hope andlove. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
It’s easy to love people who are sweet, kind, considerate, grateful, and fluffy and cute – like puppies. Who doesn’t like puppies? But love our enemy? Sometimes, our enemy is the hard-to-love person and not our persecutor. Sometimes, our friends feel like the enemy. Yes, through Christ, all things are possible (like loving your enemy) but trying to do the impossible without Him is useless; we cannot love unconditionally without Him.
She texted me after she left to apologize. She said and did some insensitive things and she sincerely was sorry. I called her later and told her I forgave her, told her how much I loved her and asked if she could forgive me too if I did anything to hurt her. She said she couldn’t think of one thing. She said she felt such love from me and kindness during that week. Ladies, I’m not perfect, and I know there were times I was snappy and didn’t have a perfect attitude but look at the grace of God. Though I struggled, she felt loved regardless. That week could have been different – with us arguing, hurting each other with our attitude and words – but love is greater and God gave me the grace I needed for each day. He forgave me and helped me to forgive and love.
God cares about our attitude, not just what we do. He cares about the state of our heart. I could have said the right things, but if my tone wasn’t right because my heart was bitter, then it’s meaningless. 1 Corinthians 13:1 says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
Princesses, people are going to try your patience, push your buttons, but God is paying attention to how you respond. You aren’t responsible for other people’s behavior, but you are responsible for your own. It’s hard, believe me, I know, but it’s possible with Christ to keep your love turned on. Having the right attitude will serve you well in life, with your family, in your relationship, at your workplace, with strangers, with friends and of course, with God. Don’t let your emotions control you, but ask God to help you master your emotions so no matter what life throws your way, you can throw love back at it.
Love is powerful; it changes everything.
Lord, thank you for these girls. Thank you for love and for sending your Son to us, out of love for us. Thank you for being with us in this life and helping us to live life in a way that is pleasing to you. Thank you for helping me to love my friend when it was hard. Thank you for helping me to forgive and let go. God help us to be quick to forgive and slow to anger, quick to love and slow to hate. Help us to shine your light in this world, starting with the people right in front of us. We desire to obey you and please you, Lord. Thank you for faithfully loving us, even when we aren’t loving ourselves. You are amazing, and we are so grateful to have the privilege and honor of being your daughters. Give us the
With all my love,