We continued our study of If God Is Love this past weekend. The topic was graciousness and how we should be gracious in the home and in the world. The author states that if we truly believe that God is loving and gracious, then we will, in turn, become more gracious and loving of those around us.
He writes about how many men can recite verses in the Bible that instruct women to be subjective to their husbands, but most do not bother with the verse that commands men to love their wives as Christ loves the church. He explains that believing God is loving will force us to become more loving in our relationships with our partners and our children.
The most difficult part of this week’s reading for me was the section dealing with graciousness in the workplace. While I am usually a very easy-going person, there are times when those that I work with are more than trying. I’m not sure how to apply gracious behavior to some of the things that I encounter during my day.
A perfect example – yesterday I was informed that a few of my coworkers have been telling others that I attend a “gay” church and that they didn’t even see the point of me going to church if it’s populated with homosexuals. While it is far from the truth, the ignorance embodied in that rumor makes it difficult for me to address it with compassion and grace. I realize that a loving response might be more influential than an angry one, but I do feel that there are times when a “righteous” indignation might be in order.
A few of my favorite lines from this reading:
Altering my theology was as unsettling as any change in my life.
In the end, my first challenge is to allow God’s unfailing grace to change my daily life.
There will always be marriages worse than ours. I was hoping for something better.
God has no grandchildren.
I don’t think God cares about who you love as long as you love somebody.
Growing up, I was asked repeatedly, “If you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?” I was never asked, “If you live tomorrow, what kind of life will it be?”
To be full of the Spirit is to have your heart broken by the things that break the heart of God.
Instead of being encouraged to produce fruit, we’ve been trained to be fruit inspectors.
Here are the questions that we pondered this week:
How would your relationship with God by different if you sincerely believed God’s principle interest was in you and loving you, rather than whether you were adhering to God’s expectations and laws? How would this influence your relationship with others?
I would be more at peace in my relationship with God and would have much less fear about the future or the afterlife. This might allow me to see those around me a little differently, since I would be aware that God loves and accepts them as they are, even if that isn’t want I think they should be.
“Grace begins at home,” the authors assert on page 95. In what ways do you find this to be true? In what ways do you wish it were more fully so?
The state of our relationships at home will have an effect on everything we do and everyone we interact with. Problems at home will always spill over into everyday life, so it makes sense that we need to keep that part of our lives in order. The best way to do that is to be gracious enough to consider our partners as equal to ourselves and to show them the love and respect that they deserve.
Have you ever had someone try to save your eternal soul? What was it like? Compare this experience with someone whose desire it was not to convert you, but simply to share God’s love with you.
Many times. In fact, I’ve often considered those people to be opportunists – they seem to prey upon me while I’ve been in my lowest or weakest condition. I understand their primary concern is my soul, but their scare tactics don’t seem to fit very well with Jesus’ message of love and hope. It would seem that a message centered around sharing the love of Christ would be much more effective than one based on fear.
What is the point of Christianity if everyone is going to be saved?
This question is rather difficult to answer, but the best one that I can think of is this – if we all practiced the things that Jesus taught, the world would be a much better place. I’m sure it is much more complex than that, so maybe further reading will reveal the real answer to this question.