Putting ourselves below others “has the power to do what laws and bullets and bombs can never do…”
“Participants in the kingdom of the world trust the power of the sword to control behavior; participants of the kingdom of God trust the power of self-sacrificial love to transform hearts.The kingdom of the world is concerned with preserving law and order by force; the kingdom of God is concerned with establishing the rule of God through love.The kingdom of the world is characterized by judgment; the kingdom of God is characterized by outrageous, even scandalous, grace.”
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
One of our most powerful tools of witness is our presence rather than our presents; not the stuff we wrap up nicely with a bow and give to people out of our abundance…but rather the giving of ourselves, the gift of being with, whether it’s convenient or not.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Bless [show kindness, desire good, go beyond mere nonretaliation]…
…those who persecute you [those who treat you badly, insult your faith and values, make it difficult or dangerous to follow Christ…just to name a few]…
…bless and do not curse [in person, on social media, behind backs…you know, everywhere]
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
“God’s will is wider than we imagine…and even though we may fall short God’s call on our life, in God’s infinite knowledge of all that can be known God is able to weave a tapestry of God’s will around the decisions that we, as humans, freely make. Any person earnestly seeking to live for God cannot leave the will of God without a conscious rejection of God. Instead, in and through the interweaving of God’s sovereignty and human free-will, the choices we make—influenced as they are by the wooing work of the Holy Spirit—become the visible squares of a quilt sewn together by the nearly invisible threads of God.”
[I found this note in the margins of notes I took sixteen years ago in a seminary course on the history of Christian thought and practice. Don’t ask me why I was reading seminary notes from sixteen years ago!]