May 31 I Tuesday
2 Chronicles 13-14
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” —Ephesians 4:15-16
I was having a conversation with a person, where every time we spoke, they would talk about vaccines. Even if we begin talking about something else, the conversation would inevitably lead towards vaccines. As this person started to tell me about everything they had read, they had heard and they had Googled, I listened, prayed, and listened. Then, the Holy Spirit led me to ask one question: If you did ever get sick, who would you want to call? There was a long silence on the other end. At this, I realized that this person was not talking about vaccines because they really wanted to know about vaccines; they were speaking from fear and loneliness.
Are we listening to what the person is telling us? Note that I did not reveal whether the person I was talking to is pro-vaccination or anti-vaccination, because that is not the point. Rather, the point is to listen to what is being said from the heart. Sometimes in our conversations, we do not understand the point and we lose the plot. But there is only and ever one plot, no matter what the context, what the content of our conversation is, there is one thing that we are called to do in every communication we have with one another and that is to listen honestly, speak wholesomely and, in everything, love sacrificially—this is our highest calling. Not to defend our convictions or give the right answers, but to love sacrificially. 1 John 3:16 reminds us, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
What is it that we are clinging to so tenaciously in these arguments that makes loving sacrificially impossible for us? What point could be so important to make that we leave the other person bruised and battered in order to make it? The late Francis Schaeffer, a well-known theologian, once said, “The greatest loss for Christian witness is when we win the argument and lose the person.” We cannot lay down our lives for people if we will not lay down our own opinions.
Now, what does it mean to love sacrificially in our conversations? If we have the choice between being clever and being kind, be kind. If we have the choice of doing the “mic drop” or holding a hand, hold the hand. If we have a choice between defending a conviction or protecting a heart, protect the heart. Jesus called us to be bearers of His good news. May we not miss the opportunity to speak life, to speak love and to speak hope to others.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for demonstrating what love is. May the conversations that I engage in reflect Your sacrificial love, even when it means I have to lay down my own opinions.