Words

Quite a few years ago, one of my very close friends and I took two junior high girls to a Britt Nicole concert. It was a really neat evening, and I really appreciated not only the music, but also Britt's words to her audience, especially to middle school girls. Years later, I think I still sometimes feel like I'm one of those little girls, albeit the "insecurity" is not from feeling unloved, but rather from feeling unworthy of love, whether God's or someone else's.

I know full well that I am loved unconditionally and completely by God, but the more I come to (however finitely) grasp this, the more I feel inadequate. I am undeserving of such love, yet it is given freely to me independent of anything I could ever do to earn it. In this sense the only action on my part is response.

But in this regard, too, I am undeserving. In fact, all too often I find my response completely backwards: I struggle with being unloving toward others. I brush past people without a smile. I thoughtlessly make sarcastic or disrespectful comments to others, especially those who I care so much about. I judge people for what they say or do or look like.
"If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother."
      ~ 1 John 4:20-21 [emphasis mine]
I can neither earn nor affect (either positively or negatively) God's love for me, but the fact is, plain and simple, that when we are blown away (how could it be anything less?) by the immense, unending, perfect love of God, our love for Him should increase, as should our love for others.

And loving others means genuinely caring and having compassion for them, for everyone, even the unlovely. It means selflessness. 
"Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others to the glory of God the Father."
      ~ Philippians 2:2-11 [emphasis mine]
I have had a definite Holy Spirit-slap-upside-the-head lately in terms of loving and looking out for the interests of others. I have a tendency to overthink a lot of things, but God has been showing me how often I say things without thinking. I make comments here and there that I immediately kick myself for saying . . . things that are certainly not edifying, and sometimes straight up unloving. I realized the other morning while doing my devos, that I really need to think seriously about the effect of my words and whether they are loving, encouraging, and respectful.

What I say is a significant aspect of considering others better than myself, and it is a significant aspect of Christ's character, which I am to be striving toward. My words ought to be reflective of Christ and an overflow of His love. This is a significant aspect of my response to God's love.
"Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again."
      ~ 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 [emphasis mine]

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