We live in a crazy world with such a variety of people at different ages and different stages of life; single, married, divorced, widowed, kids, no kids, kids in school, kids in diapers, kids in trouble, different personalities, different temperaments, introverts (gain energy being alone), extroverts (gain energy being with others), people with lots of energy, people with health issues, adventure seekers, home-bodies, people with different gifts and abilities and cultural backgrounds, differing tastes in food, movies, entertainment, and what is considered ‘fun’. Oh my, are we different!
Yet with all this difference, how are we to enjoy our interactions with each other? God’s Word, the Bible, gives us some help. Now this is not an exhaustive list but a few helpful thoughts for the day.
Proverbs 17:9 Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
It’s not making a mistake or continuing to offend or annoy another and turning with that little smirky grin and say ‘love you.’ It’s the choice to act lovingly towards another. To show what love is…
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
And when we act lovingly we enjoy the delight of relationships. Here is another helpful reality to enjoy the delight of interacting with others not like you…
Proverbs 17:13 Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good.
It takes humility, forgiveness, and grace to not retaliate in kind when wronged. Two other Proverbs help here…
Proverbs 26:4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.
Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.
Proverbs 26:4-5 seem contradictory yet we are not to respond/answer in the way we were treated, lashing back with sharp-tongued retorts or repaying evil for evil. As well we are not to just ignore it, we are to respond/answer in love, kindness, and clarity and that takes humility and restraint as we care for those offending us. Hmmm, sounds like something Jesus would do, and did!
Proverbs 17:14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
We are advised to avoid, resolve, or walk away from conflict before a full blown shouting match breaks out. Now yes, we are to seek to resolve conflict; define the issues and seek to find some compromise in the climate of love, yet there are times when the volcano of emotions are ready to blow. That’s a good time to drop the matter, deal with our own feels, and seek solution another time.
Yes, it’s tough to delight in our difference living amongst a variety of people, yet Jesus is calling us to something higher.
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Seeking to Delight in our Differences with you,