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Loving People is a Privilege

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith …” I Peter 5:8-9a

I have a confession, though if you know me at all, you know it’s not really much of a confession.

I can be snarky.
And I’m not talking just silly-snarky that makes people giggle because it’s good-natured. I’m talking venomous and purposed-to-sting snark.

The worst part is that even if I don’t say the snark out loud, in my head, I feel justified because this person was snarky first or that person was totally out of line and their behavior was unacceptable. I feel 100% justified in my anger and the resulting snark because of their words, their actions or their deeds.

Surely, I’m not alone in this feeling of ‘justified’ anger, am I? I mean, look at the world today–look at some of the stuff that people say and do…how they purposely attack my beliefs, my values and my Jesus.

And that’s just how the enemy wants us to feel. Justified to retort, deserving to strike back. Fully content in our ugly thoughts and words because our neighbor, coworker, friend or spouse is just plain wrong. It’s so easy to fall into this.

The devil thrives on our venom; he oozes satisfaction when we spew bitter words or feelings out in our personal relationships, and even in those relationships with others in the world. Whereas David tells us how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1), the enemy is constantly scheming to cause us to sin…prowling to devour our desire to love God and love his people.

So we, the people of God, face this challenge: to love one another and to give grace in our words for others. It IS a challenge because loving people is HARD sometimes and the devil constantly whispers in our ears about how valid our snark and our unloving behavior is. He tells us it’s just what that someone deserves. But when we think of it in light of the fact that God FIRST loved us…we who deserve eternal death and separation, it no longer needs to be a challenge.

Instead, it can be an opportunity and a privilege…and an offering of obedience and worship to God! Give it a shot–give grace and kindness where you’d be tempted to give snark and watch what happens!

By: Lori Ennis
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