Prayer, spiritual development, personal growth, faith, exploration, wholeness,

The way of love

A few days ago I woke up speaking aloud. I was explaining to someone what following God’s way of love involves, like this:

Following God’s way of love means loving, and caring for, all people, all creatures, and all creation.

It means loving everyone we see, hear about, and come into contact with, however briefly – in person, by phone, online, in letters, whilst passing them in the street, or seeing them drive by, reading about them in newspapers, or watching them on TV.

It means genuinely expressing this love through everything we think, and say, and do.

It means responding to all that happens to us as wisely, truthfully, and lovingly as we can, no matter how hurt, offended, angry, or afraid we feel.

It means working to forgive those who have hurt us, loving them, and praying for them each day.

It means never judging or condemning others, and it especially means a total absence of prejudice, discrimination, scapegoating, or hatred of others just for being different from ourselves. 

These qualities take years to learn, because they can only be developed through personal learning, inner change, and deep spiritual growth. This process depends on years of prayer, and of listening to God, as we struggle towards maturity, until we can always speak the truth in love – to ourselves, to God, and to others, as Jesus did.

His example of walking the way of love in both life and death helps us with every step along the path, for he asks us to face nothing he hasn’t already faced himself. Our goal, therefore, is to become more and more like him.

So here is today’s prayer:

Jesus, 

May we learn from you,
Our Lord, in heaven above,

Until our daily way of life
Becomes God’s way of love.

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Bible quotations

Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5:2; NIV).

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21; NIV).

Commit everything you do to the Lord (Psalm 37:5; NLT).

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed (John 20:28; NLT). 

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Be slow to speak

You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19; NLT).

Do not judge others (Luke 6:37; NLT).

Forgive anyone who offends you (Colossians 3:13; NLT).

Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44; NIV).

Pray for those who hurt you. (Luke 6:28; NLT).

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Be slow to speak,
But always quick to listen.

Be slow to judge,
But quick to understand.

Be slow to take offence,
Quick to forgive.

Be slow to criticise,
But quick to help.

Be slow to anger,
But be quick to love.

Be slow to blame,
But always quick to pray.

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Love all

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them (Romans 12.9; NLT).

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1; NLT).

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Love all
Exactly as,
And where,
They are,

Striving
To hear,
Accept,
And understand.

Then
You will not
Be quick
To criticise,

Nor will you
Judge them,
Punish,
Or condemn.

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Our task

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1-2; NLT).

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ (Ephesians 5:2; NLT).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

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Father,

Our task
Isn’t judging
Other people,

Or telling them
What they should
Say and do.

Instead,

It’s to become
Much more
Like Jesus –

Righteous,
Holy,
Loving all,

Like you.

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Painful honesty

If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone (Matthew 18:15; NRSV).

So then, putting away all falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin (Ephesians 4:25-6; NRSV).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1; NLT).

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Lord,

When I have to speak
With painful honesty,

Trying to do the best I can,
In love,

How folk respond
Is wholly up to them –

I can’t control
Their judgement or rejection.

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The first stone

How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye (Luke 6 42; NLT).

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned (Luke 6:37; NIV).

Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone! (John 8:7; NLT).

 

Lord,
I’m very ignorant –
So I’m not fit
To judge the ignorance
Of others.

Plus,
I’ve got a lot of weaknesses –
So I’m not fit
To mock the weaknesses
Of others.

What’s more,
I’ve got a multitude of faults –
So I’m not fit
To scorn the faults
Of others.

And lastly,
I commit unceasing sins –
So I’m not fit
To throw the first
Self-righteous stone.

 

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Free will

Don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil (1 Peter 2:16; NLT).

The Lord is our judge (Isaiah 33:22; KJV).

He will judge everyone according to what they have done (Romans 2:6; NLT).

 

Friends,
We have free will.

We can indulge
Our selfishness,
Anger,
Hatred,
And violence
To our hearts’ content –

God will not intervene.

But when we stand before him
After death,
Make no mistake:

We’ll face the consequence
Of every thought,
And word,
And deed
Before our judge.

 

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