Monday, May 16, 2011


Today's C.S. Lewis quote is:
Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment.
The true test of the kindness or love of a person is their reaction when the person who is the object of their kindness or love genuinely annoys them.  In other words, how does a person treat conflict is a true test of a person's love (C.S. Lewis used the word, "benevolent"; I am substituting "love" or "kindness").  The clearest example to me is children.  It is easy to love children when they are not annoying -- when they are not crying, or whining, or demanding much of my time. The true test of my love is how I react when they are hollering at the top of their lungs, when they are complaining, or when I am forced to stop what I am doing to help them.

In terms of an adult relationship, how do I respond to my significant other when there is conflict?  Do I respond with patience, kindness, and respect, putting the other person's needs ahead of my own?  Or do I lash out in anger, retreat into a protective shell, or disparage the other person?

Jesus put it this way,
"For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?  And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others?  Do not even the Gentiles do the same?"  Matthew 5:46-47.
Therefore, as Christians, we are to:
"[D]o good to those who hate you, bless  those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.?"  Luke 6:27-28.
Our distinguishing characteristic as Christians should be our love, not only for each other, but those who hate, persecute or annoy us (See John 13:35).  They shall know we are Christians by our doctrine?  By our churches?  By our clothes, or haircuts, or lack of tattoos?  Because we don't drink, don't smoke, don't gamble, and don't run with those who do?  No!  They shall know we are Christians by our love, and especially by how we treat those who annoy us.

I am not preaching at you; I am exhorting you and me at the same time.  I know how hard this is.  True love is difficult, likely the most difficult thing we can do.  It takes a lifetime to master, and even then, it is likely not perfect love. Nevertheless, as we allow God to work in our lives, He will "perfect us in love."  It is not easy, but it is worth it, and it is our mandate as Christians.

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