Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 04/13/16

Love Cares

Like Father, like love

STORY: Can You Set the Table?

In times past, girls took charm courses to learn social graces, including etiquette. Boys took a similar class to learn how to be gentlemen. Unfortunately, times have changed and these types of classes are not popular anymore. I still think there is a huge need for these sorts of classes. Perhaps, if we updated the cool-factor and made them more fun while being informative, teens and ‘tweens would sign up. I taught a class like this to an inner city group in Ohio, and it was well received.

The reason I bring up this subject is because all around me I see a need for a politer and kinder humanity. In this me first world, few are thinking about how they can make things a better place for someone else. 

Etiquette isn’t about being a snob or appearing proper. It is about esteeming the other person highly. All throughout Scripture it talks about putting the other person first. A Christ-like behavior sees someone’s need, and then when able to meet that need, finds a way to take care of them.

There are simple ways we can be courteous to others. When we notice someone with very few groceries in line behind us, we can offer to let them go ahead of us. When we observe a car with its blinker on, we can let them turn in front of us so they aren’t stuck in the turn lane for what seems like forever. Let’s be polite with our words and considerate with our actions. 

1 Peter 3:8 (KJV) says, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”

This doesn’t mean we are supposed to be pitiful like Droopy Dog. This means we are to be full of pity over the condition of others. Love causes hearts to swell with compassion. If we will love each other like one big family (“love as brethren”) we’ll have the mindset to take care of our own. How can we all be of one mind when we are so different? By finding likemindedness in Christ. When we put on the mind of Christ, we will see things through His eyes and be able to love one another by tending to their needs. As we take care of others, those who follow the same code of courtesy will tend to our needs. 

Today’s courtesies are much more than knowing how to set a table or open a door for someone else (although those niceties still have their place in the 21st Century). In this busy world of dog-eat-dog, proper etiquette demands we slow down long enough to see how we can be kind and compassionate to others.

Today, let’s look around and see what we can do to make this world a better place. That’s showing the love of Christ.

STUDY: Like Father, Like Love

Be Like Your Compassionate Father
You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. (Luke 6:36 NLT)

•    Christians often ask what God’s will is for their lives. Anytime you read the word “must” in Scripture, you can be certain the command is a prescription for living.  In this world with few absolutes, Luke doesn’t say, “You might want to,” he says, “You must…” What is it Luke commands us to do?
•    God the Father is compassionate. How does that help you in your efforts to be more caring to others?

Open Your Eyes and See the Need
When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. (Luke 7:13 NLT)

“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. (Luke 10:33 NLT)

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? (1 John 3:17 NLT)

•    In the first two verses, notice that the Lord initially sees before He acts with compassion. What does that tell you has to happen in your own life before you become a kinder person?
•    In Luke 7:13, from where did compassion overflow? How can you be sure you have so much compassion that it brims over?
•    In the last verse above, it shows God’s love is evident through compassion. Do you have that evidence in your own life?

The Etiquette of Treating Others Better
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:1-3 NLT)

•    Make a list of virtues to grow in your life, based on this passage.
•    Philippians 2:3 starts by telling us two “don’t” instructions. What are they? Can you see how a self-focused agenda is the opposite of showing love through kindness?

STEPS: Compassion Love Acts Loving

•    Put someone else before yourself. What will you do this week to put your own wishes last in order to build up this person?
•    Look to the needs of others. Stop long enough from your busy schedule to watch others and truly look in their eyes. When you see a look of pain or disappointment or need, ask God to show you how to reach out and help.
•    Use your resources to put your love where your mouth is. Think of how God has blessed you. Use those same blessings to bless others. 

Copyright 2016 Kathy Carlton Willis. Used by permission.

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