This last week of Advent is the week of Love!
“Everything is permitted,” you say? Maybe, but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permitted?” Maybe, but not everything is edifying. No one should be looking out for his own interests, but for those of his fellow. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for the earth and everything in it belong to the Lord. If some unbeliever invites you to a meal, and you want to go, eat whatever is put in front of you without raising questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This meat was offered as a sacrifice,” then don’t eat it, out of consideration for the person who pointed it out and also for conscience’s sake — however, I don’t mean your conscience but that of the other person. You say, “Why should my freedom be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I participate with thankfulness, why am I criticized over something for which I myself bless God?” Well, whatever you do, whether it’s eating or drinking or anything else, do it all so as to bring glory to God. Do not be an obstacle to anyone — not to Jews, not to Gentiles, and not to God’s Messianic Community.1 Corinthians 10:23-32 (CJB)
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is really hard to be loving to people. Especially this year. Especially this time of year. People seem to be so mean these days. It doesn’t even matter what you do—someone will deem you are wrong, and you’ll meet with their angst. It’s unavoidable. What is avoidable is how you react to such hostile times. You can respond to anger in love (and not give in to angry demands). I know it seems almost an impossible task, which is why we should pray to see others as Jesus sees them. That angry person berating you in the grocery store probably has a lot of hurt and fear going on inside. Maybe you could tell them they’re being ridiculous and they need to mind their own business—two true statements. “But not everything is helpful.” Some of the most unlovable people are those who need to be shown love the most.
Am I telling you to cower and just do whatever the angriest person tells you to do? Absolutely not. Just do all things in love, keeping in mind that not everything permitted is helpful and edifying. Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.
Even in our own homes, this can be tough. We begin to focus on ourselves and throw a little pity party. The toddler pee in the floor seems unfair to be our problem again. The work of the household seems to fall unfairly on our shoulders. Those around us can see the worst in us if we’re not careful. We begin to think too much about ourselves and not enough about those God has placed in our lives.
This Advent, as we observe this long season of waiting, don’t get tired of being the light in this dark world. Don’t let the anger and the fear going on around you put your light out. The world needs us now more than ever. The darkness looks so deep and so powerful—but I can assure you, the Son is Rising. Keep your eyes on the skies. (In fact, you can look at the sky tonight and get a peek at a once in a lifetime view! Check out the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction just after sunset! It is speculated that this could be the Star of Bethlehem. It will be the brightest “star” in the sky tonight. If you miss it, you’ll have to wait another 800 years to see them that close again! If you’re reading this devotional late—sorry. You missed it. Hopefully someone got a picture.) The Light of the World is coming. He is making all things new. He’s working through you and me in the here and now. And one day, He will come again. The Light of Love is coming.
Today’s Song: Big Love, Small Moments by JJ Heller