Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. Prov. 10:12
Once again we find ourselves beset by ongoing, nagging issues. The election is over, but the wrangling about it lingers. The pandemic won’t go away but seems to be encroaching again. The things that separate people physically and emotionally take center stage. Ongoing, chronic issues like this put relationships to the test.
Hatred stirs up strife. Even without any reason, hateful people will look for a way to antagonize someone. They’ll pick at scabs, pour salt in wounds, delight in another’s misery, and bring up old arguments. They’d rather score points in a bitter argument than let well enough alone. You see someone with a bumper sticker for the other candidate, or not taking the same precautions you take, and it becomes an opportunity to vent.
Love works in the opposite direction. The loving person would rather forget an insult than dwell on it. As St. Paul put it in the beautiful chapter in live, I Cor. 13, love keeps no record of wrongs. There is no score to settle because nobody kept a running tally.
The real test, though, is duration. Anyone can do the right thing for a while. But everyone grows tired eventually. That’s why we constantly return to our God Who Is Love, and His grace and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. He covers all our offenses. He assures us we need not defend our own pride or get our own way because He has everything in hand. That frees us up not to dwell in arguments, irritations, frictions, frustrations, disappointments, and all things negative. Those things will drive you apart even from the people closest to you. On other hand, returning to Christ and leaving it in his hands will draw you closer even to those who are furthest from you, or at least remove some of the barriers between you.
So as you watch the Covid cases grow and things start to shut down all over again, and as you watch all the goings-on in Washington, don’t aim for strife. That is the Old Adam, the hater in you yearning to vent. Rather, focus on the One Whose problem it is. He will invite you to be part of the solution.
In Christ, Pastor Speckhard
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Rev. Peter Speckhard, Senior Pastor at St. Paul's Ev. Lutheran Church, Munster, Indiana