love is patient

love is patient.  it must be.

there are three reasons why:

first, because you live in a world marred by sin, offences done against you are all too common.  you cannot last in any meaningful relationship if your capacity to suffer is short.  patience means long-suffering.

most of the sufferings you will face in your relationships would result from offences done against you; unless you exercise patience, you will either give up on the relationship, or remain in the relationship, but with bitterness and anger.

secondly, because love endures.  love endures all things.   endurance is a term that denotes one’s ability to withstand and overcome harshness.  offences act harshly on your relationships.  it is one of the most adverse realities that your relationship can undergo and which you need to deal with.

trials and temptations in various shapes and sizes also act harshly on your relationships.  suffering loss can weigh heavily on a relationship, but patience enables you to endure such with cheerfulness.  the ravages of time wearies; it erodes all freshness, excitement, and vibrancy in relationships : love endures; it revives and rebuilds.

thirdly, because relationships are for life.  many of the relationships you are in, are meant to last your lifetime, viz., family, parent/child, husband/wife, and friends.  the harshness of offenses, trials and temptations, and sufferings, act adversely on them — they either destroy or break them.  the saddest tragedy in life is when relationships which are naturally permanent, viz., family, are marred and often left irreparable by the lack or total absence of patience and forbearance — bridges are burned, and walls erected and fortified.  love will keep you from crossing past the point where there is no turning back.

patience renders you reconcilable to offences, and cheerful in sufferings.

love is patient. love is kind.

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hearing criticism about another person

if someone tells you — or you overhear someone you know tell another person — something negative about someone, eg, criticizes her/him, what would you do?

if the person telling, ie, the speaker, is a close friend, you might listen to the criticism, or give assent to what she/he says; or if you find something objectionable in it, you might either take it with a grain of salt, or give the speaker the benefit of your doubt.

but what ought you to do if someone (even a close friend) tells you, or you overhear criticism about another person that you could not overlook?  you have four options.

first, you can keep silent about it.  keep it to yourself.  when this happens, you gain a foothold on both the speaker and the person she/he is telling on, ie, the subject.  is this good?  no, because this kind of knowledge corrupts your mind, and cankers your heart.

secondly, you can go directly to the subject of the criticism, and tell her/him that the speaker said this about her/him.  but.  this gives cause for the subject to take offense against the speaker, unnecessarily.  this drives a wedge between them, and separates them.  you have provoked the subject against the speaker, which the speaker is not even aware of.

thirdly, you can tell the speaker to stop.  and instead of telling you anything more, to go to the person, and tell it to her/him directly.  this prevents knowledge that cankers to be lodged in your heart.

or fourthly, if you can’t stop her/him, tell her/him that you yourself will relay the criticism to the person, as coming from her/him (the speaker.)  if the subject takes offense at what you relayed the speaker to have said, the speaker is not unaware why.

if you only overheard it, and you cannot overlook what was said, then tell the speaker that you overheard what she/he said, and that you believe the subject has a right to know.  either she/he tell her/him directly or you tell her/him that you will relay the criticism, as coming from her/him (the speaker.)

it isn’t fair to say, “someone told me this criticism about you.”  because it torments the subject with the unanswered questions, who? and, why?

 

 

 

i am. the chief.

i cannot pinpoint the exact day and date when i came to faith in christ.  one day “i see men like trees, walking;” then days, months, and years later, i “saw everyone clearly,” mk.8.22-25

i was a nominal roman catholic.  i attended mass — rarely.  i had a vague fear of graven images, and priests; i respected — and was scared of — them.  that’s all.  i have repented, have turned from idols (and priests) to serve the living and true God.

the turning point in my life was brought about by my drug addiction.  i found no purpose in life, i was “without hope, and without God in the world.”  drug addiction gave meaning to my life — a way out.

my drug addiction started when i was in junior high school (3rd year,) and continued into my second year in college.  things were bad.  i (then) took an indefinite leave of absence from my studies, stayed home, and only got worse.  until one day, i asked my mother to take me to “rehab”.  i got better after that.

a year later, when i returned to school to resume my college education, my elder sister, (already a christian, and a member of a campus local church,) invited me to attend their sunday service.  from that time onward, i never missed a sunday service.

one night, i was alone in the boarding house where i stayed with my sister; having read psalm 51, i sincerely asked the Lord to come into my heart, to cleanse me, acknowledging my heart was full of sin; this act or “inner motion” (as i refer to it) was reminiscent of a song we sang in arminian bible studies i’ve attended years ago — “let jesus come into your heart.”  that night.  maybe.  he did.

this is a faithful saying, worthy of all acceptance: christ jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom i am the chief!

go and tell him

“if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  if he hears you, you have gained your brother.  but if he will not hear, take with you one or two more.”  the words of jesus in matt.18.15ff. are plain and simple.

but.  it’s (so much) easier said than done.  it is easier to withdraw from the person who offended you, easier to avoid her/him altogether in church, than confront her/him with the fault, or the wrong done to you.

the possibility of the person not hearing you, or not admitting the fault is very real.  in fact, it is the premise of the second step that jesus laid out.  “if he does not hear you,” he says.

if you think the process is tedious, cumbersome, or even hazardous; and that not confronting the person at fault is a better option for you; then, you might end up harbouring a grudge against that person.

when this happens, it may cause you to avoid her/him; as seeing her/him reminds you of the wrong that you suffered.  this may also cause you to speak grudgingly — or worse, in a slanderous way — about him/her to others or to your friends.

an unresolved conflict of this sort, builds gaps between members.  it drives wedges between friends.  it destroys church unity, and tears it apart at the seams.  sadly, i have seen it rear its ugly head in church.

but what jesus said can — it ought to — be done.

i overheard a man talking to a friend over the phone, he sounded quite upset.  “i am offended by what you did,” he said firmly.  apparently, the person on the other line promptly apologized, because what i heard next from the man was, “ok, i accept your apology…  i love you as my brother.”