More than anything, keep loving each other actively;
because love covers many sins.
~ 1 Peter 4:8
Have you figured out yet that this life is all about relationships? The Relationship Expert Himself wrote an entire Book about this matter of relationships. The First Four Words of The Ten (Commandments) He gave us had to do with relating to Him…and the Last Six Words had to do with relating to everyone else!
What I’m trying to say, folks, is that it matters to our LORD how we deal with one another…yes, even ‘Sister Scouring Pad’ (the one known for her abrasive qualities). Did you know that our (horizontal) relationships are the TELLING FRUIT of our most vital (vertical) relationship to the Father...the ROOT? We are able to know the true condition of how our Heavenly Father views our relationship with Himself simply by examining our relationships with the 'one anothers' in our lives.
We all have at least one relationship in need of His healing touch, don’t we? 1 Peter 3:8-12 describes a process of His sanctification in us through friction with others…’it is to this we have been called that we might receive a blessing’. We receive this blessing as we do things His way and give up the right to ourselves.
Recently, I had the privilege of sipping some very expensive coffee (as in ‘Venti fat-free hazelnut latte, please!’) across the table from a new friend. We both shared our strange love for acronyms. You see, the LORD gave me a brain that can be easily confused, so I have found that acronyms serve me well in remembering what I should do in a complicated situation. Sometimes I do not have time to grab my Bible and look up the appropriate responses. Perhaps this is why His Spirit instructs us to ‘hide (the Word) in our hearts that we might not sin against Him’!
H.U.G.S. is surely one great acronym to commit to memory in dealing with inevitable conflict. The definition of conflict is ‘to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; to clash’. Has this ever happened to you? John records these words from Jesus: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
We have tribulation because sin resides in every human heart. But let’s not kid ourselves - even if you or I were the only one on this earth, we’d still have our issues! Therefore, we can look at conflict as an event and H.U.G.S. as appropriate God-honoring, Christ-exalting responses to a brother or sister. Until the LORD comes back, His Spirit will be teaching us all about His blessed grace and giving us ample opportunity to grow in it and extend it to others.
What would our relationships look like if we dealt in the following manner with each other?
• H - Honestly (Proverbs 24:26; Romans 12:9-10)
• U - Understandingly (Proverbs 14:29; James 1:20)
• G - Graciously (Colossians 4:6; Proverbs 11:16; Ecclesiastes 10:12) AND finally…
• S - Simply (Matthew 5:37; Proverbs 10:19; Ecclesiastes 5:7)
Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples by the love we have for one another (John 13:35). This ahava (Hebrew: ‘love’) is the first attribute listed of the Spirit’s fruit because it is from this ‘ahava’ that the remaining Kingdom fruit flows. Ahava, at its core, is a heavenly action displayed through an earthly vessel. It is His very love flowing through us.
Because HUGS are a very SUPERnatural response, they are able to soften the edges of even the harshest Sister (yes, even Sister Scouring Pad or Brillo Britches…whichever you prefer).
Baruch Ha Shem ADONAI!!
Because HE Lives!
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