Daily D – Romans 12:10
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. ROMANS 12:10 (NLT)
Those closest to us most often rise to the level of our expectations. Part of this is due to how our attitudes and behaviors shape our relationships. Part of it is due to how others respond to our attitudes and behaviors. Let’s pretend for a bit that we are the kinds of people who lead ourselves and others with loving words and actions. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that we lead ourselves and others with gentleness, kindness, and deference.
This kind of lifestyle creates beautiful relationships. Couldn’t we use more relationships like this in these days of pandemic, protest, and problems?
“There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers,” (1 Chron. 4:9). The man whose name was a constant reminder of pain always started behind the eight ball. He never used that as an excuse, or a reason, or a destiny. Instead, he lived a noble, honorable life. He lived a life God could bless. Who do you know whose starting place is less than ideal? Who needs a kind word and a loving relationship from you to help him or her overcome the challenges of life? How can you help him or her live an honorable life?
Let’s start with another question. How do we honor others? Three things come to mind quickly: Think the best of them, say the best about them, and expect the best from them.
One of the hardest things to do in our current culture is to turn positive, focused attention on others. The sheer number of selfies snapped with iPhones should convince us of this truth. A young woman died a couple of weeks ago at the Grand Canyon. She was taking a selfie on the rim when she lost her footing and then lost her life. If only she had focused on others instead.
Positive, focused attention requires noticing individuals within crowds. A quiet, reserved young woman sipped her beverage and stood alone at a meeting I attended a year or so ago. A buddy of mine and I struck up a conversation with her. My friend Caleb has never met a stranger. He thinks every new person could be his next best friend. This young woman has eyes that remind me of the title of a recent short story by James Scott Bell: I See Things Deeply.
Layer by layer, Caleb peeled the onion. There was guarded depth there. There was intensity there. There was passion there. And yes, Caleb walked away with a new friend.
Caleb thought the best of Meg (That is her name). He saw beyond the caution to the depth. He looked for what God was doing in her heart and patiently drew it out so they could both examine it and appreciate it.
Caleb would repeat what she said from time to time, affirming the power of her words. He emphasized her deep truths. He encouraged her with his ears. He noted her pain, her progress, and her potential.
Caleb looked down the road and asked her what was next. As she filled in the details, she saw hope and life and meaning in all its glory. Caleb quietly and beautifully agreed and blessed her journey and destiny.
Caleb thought the best, said the best, and expected the best of Meg. Someday, when this pandemic is over, Caleb, Meg, and I will gather again in Atlanta, Georgia, and catch up. I fully expect to see a beautiful smile accompanying those intense eyes.
Put out a BOLO today for the Megs in your path. Think the best, say the best, and expect the best of her. Establish or deepen a relationship. Empower him or her with your ears and your words. Bless him or her with great expectations.
Take delight in honoring others.
I will take delight in honoring others.
Our Father, empower me to see what you see when you look at the individuals among the crowds. Empower me to see those who are hiding in plain sight. Empower me to think the best of them, to say words that will give life, and to fill them with positive expectations. Slow me down. Fill my life with love, gentleness, kindness, and deference. Amen.
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Ephesians 1:16-18 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. (NLT)
Galatians 5:13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. (NLT)
Isaiah 43:2 When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. (NLT)