James 1:21b-22a,26 – Humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. (NLT)
I have a good friend, someone whom I can call in the middle of the night, but someone whom I was giving up on, due to her habit of interrupting me when I was trying to talk and talking far too much about herself. I thought about following the modern practice of "unfriending" as I wrote to a newspaper advice columnist about ending this relationship. Surely, if I pointed out how annoying she was and how her constant hogging the conversation was unacceptable, the columnist would agree that I needed to dump her and find myself a better-quality friend.
But I didn't send the letter, because writing it down not only reminded me of what a lovely person she really is — well-informed, keeping her promises, hard-working, and loyal — but also that the saying, If you spot it, you got it! meant that my difficulties with her were really because I myself usually behaved in the same annoying way. God had a personal message for me.
I was raised in a critical, judgmental family, slow to forgive. I needed God's help to change as I began to pray blessings for her: all the good things that I'd like in my own life. I also asked God to take away my destructive behaviour, being specific about my self-centredness. When by God's grace, my friendship with her changed and immeasurably improved, I began to use this impetus towards others. They say, Expectations are premature resentments. Now, when such feelings start up, I automatically begin the prayers that will set me free. The result has been several surprising new friendships.
Try this approach and see what it does for your own relationships!
1 John 1:8-9 – If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (NLT)
Prayer: Dear gracious heavenly Father, we are so grateful that You constantly open our eyes to our own behaviour and offer forgiveness through Your Son, Jesus. We pray for willingness to change as You show us the failures in our own lives that require attention. Thank You for the opportunities, moment by moment, to renew a right spirit within us as we accept Your forgiveness and feel the flood of Your Spirit into the happy lives that You have for us to live today. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Jesus Loves Even Me" (Lyrics)