This is part three in a study I did on 1 Corinthians 13.
1 Corinthians 13 is basically a study on the selflessness of love. It is a challenge to me asking: What are my motives?
v. 4a: "Love is patient, love is kind"
The best example of this verse in action that comes to mind is an experience I had during a Women's Ministry planning retreat a couple of years ago. Our leader really embodied the heart of this verse as she displayed such a Godly response and attitude toward the nine different personalities spending the weekend together. I will always remember the grace with which she led our group those couple of days and will hopefully be able to apply her wisdom to my own life.
One thing that really stood out to me was that she said we weren't on any kind of a solid, rigid schedule. There were some things that we needed to accomplish and she was the type of person to just get in there and get the job done, but she couldn't expect everyone else to be that way. She was so patient with all of us--and very kind--as we found all kinds of distractions and off-topic discussions to engage in. What started out one morning as a planning session, quickly turned into a "tell me your life story" session and was followed by a 3 or 4 hour shopping break. Our planning session that was originally "scheduled" as an all-day thing turned into a quick hour and a half thing late on the night before we left. It was obvious that her response to us came from a heart that desired to wait on God and let him have control--not an insecure and fearful heart that needed to be controlling. This is a concept that I really need to apply in my own life.
There are nine different personalities in my home. Though I can take full responsibility for my own self, and I have a good deal of control over the kids at this point, there is one here, my husband, whom I have no control over (though I've desperately tried!!). When I want to see change in my relationship with my husband, I need to be patient and trust that the Lord is working on us both. God has a process, just as much as he has a plan, for our lives. I need to wait on God more and to be still and trust that everything is always in his hands.
Sometimes I think on the unkind things that I say to my kids or to my husband and think that if they ever talked to me "that way" that I'd never put up with it. Again, it comes back to a lack of love and an attempt at controlling the situation. As long as I am trying to manipulate and control, God will have nowhere to move. I am stifling my family and keeping them from growing by insisting I have everything "my way". I'm sure everyone on the planet would love to be in complete control of everything that goes on around them--but I know I'd sure be lonely. How would I ever know if someone truly loved me or was happy to spend time with me? How would I know they weren't just doing it because I made them?
That is how the Lord works with us. He doesn't take complete control, otherwise it'd be impossible for us to know whether we truly loved Him or whether we were just taking all the right steps to appease a controlling God. I want to make room for all the personalities in my family to flourish. This can be done in an environment where we are all kind and patient with each other.