By: Undre Griggs, Jr
Think of the person you consider as one of the calmest people you know. Why do you think of them that way? Is it the way they act with their kids, friends, or maybe how they respond to a foes? Whatever the reason, there is something that makes you consider that person calm and not easily angered.
Proverbs 14:29 (ESV): Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Of all the reasons you listed, have you ever considered the fact that the person is understanding? Understanding people tend to be able to relate to others. They know they have made mistakes and they could easily be in a similar situation. It only takes a moment to make a decision, and it is easy to regret those decisions.
There is a saying that if you live long enough, you will be rich and poor, young and old, wise and foolish, and even the righteous and the one out of line. By humbling ourselves and exalting others, we will find it effortless to relate to the other person and to remain calm. The person who lacks understanding will likely come off as self-righteous. They will see any misdeed as an egregious attack on their trust and they will find it difficult to forgive others. Their anger will fester because they believe they could never do anything like that to another person, and their lack of humility will always cloud their judgment.
Proverbs 16:18-19 (ESV): Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.
It is always better to be a lowly person who finds friends among the poor and less fortunate. Even though they may be prosperous, the proud and self-righteous do not have enough understanding to save themselves from destruction. They live a life believing they are humble, obedient, and righteous; but the Judgment Day will prove otherwise. We see Scripture highlighting this with the parable of the Sheep and the Goat (Matthew 25:31-46) as well as the person who Jesus judged as lawless. The lawless person told Jesus he drove out demons in His name, but Jesus told Him to get away because He never knew him (Matthew 7:21-23). This is the destruction that a lack of understanding can cause in someone’s life. It is a foolish decision to live a life where you lean on your own understanding and not God’s. Choose to be humble, slow to anger, and striving for an understanding where you are aware enough to know whether you are living a righteous or self-righteous life.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
What is it about love that makes it so perfect? Love has the ability to turn enemies into friends, and it has the ability to create lasting relationships.
Colossians 3:14 (ESV): And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
We may not wake up each day with the intention of offending others, but it is going to happen. Love helps us be humble enough to apologize and forgiving enough to accept it. Love holds us together through the most difficult of situations. When we find it difficult to forgive, when we see ourselves looking for justification over compassion, we will find love is often missing. The Greek word for harmony in this verse means, perfection or maturity. Perfection in the sense that harmony is built on what has already occurred and continues to be supported by what is to come.
1 Peter 4:18 (ESV): Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Sound relationships are built on trust, compassion, understanding, and love. Our relationships are maintained by the same love they are built on. We strive to maintain this perfect unity, because it is the only way to have lasting relationships. As misunderstandings occur, and bitterness or selfishness creep their ugly head, we have to return to what sustains us.
Luke 6:35 (ESV): But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
It is the reminder that our love is fueled by the love God has for us. We look at others and it is much easier to recognize shortcomings and wrongdoings. However, how easy is it to see it in ourselves? Love asks us to bear the burden of those we encounter. It is not because we are better than they are, but because we are the same. We are all ungrateful and evil when compared to God. God is perfect and without sin; He is full of love and righteousness. As those who sin, the wages of our lifestyle is death. God has provided us an opportunity at salvation and we do not have the ability to earn or repay this gift. It is a blessing to be considered children of the Most High, and it is the bond of love that connects us to God and each other.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Stealing and taking from others is wrong. We all understand we should be willing to work for what we want in life. The apostle Paul takes it a step further when explaining why stealing is wrong.
Ephesians 4:28 (ESV): Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
The apostle Paul wants the church to understand it is not enough to make an honest living. Those who have are expected to share with those in need. Paul wants to make sure Christians understand it is not enough to abstain from wrongdoing, but we are to live a righteous life. As James says under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works”. By faith, we will share our blessings with others in need. It is faith in Jesus Christ that reminds us all of our blessings come from above, and that we have an obligation to use it to further His kingdom. When we give to those in need, we provide a testimony to the righteousness of God.
Acts 20:35 (ESV): In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
We have the ability to help on an individual basis or through our donations to the church. The church uses the money it receives to spread the word of God. This can be accomplished through support of local shelters and Christian schools; as well as supporting the needy within their congregation. We also have the ability to provide support on a personal level. We can see someone in need and contribute to that need. Individuals may choose to raise money for someone who was in a car accident and needs surgery. They may bring food or fill up the gas-tank of someone who recently lost their job. Someone may support training or paying down a hospital bill of a member who cannot afford to pay for it on his or her own. The best way I have heard it stated is this; getting into heaven is not as much about what you are not doing as much as it is about what you are doing. We do not have the ability to earn our way into heaven on our own. It is not about sinning fewer times than another, as the wages of all sin is death. It is the action of accepting Jesus Christ in baptism that provides us the ability to be saved. Naturally, abstaining from wrongdoing is a good thing and expected from God. However, the expression of our faith through our actions is what truly reflects Christ to others.