Monday, April 21, 2008

Loving Others Requires Proper Restraint

Scot's post today, Preparing for Pentecost 21, inspired a significant response, which I'm coming to realize as a way of preparing posts here! ;^) So, here's my comment:


I have long come to believe that the primary attribute of God is restraint -- without his amazing restraint, we would not continue to exist. As I read today's chapter, and pondered your lists, I saw that being like Jesus is truly to be restrained! Instead of knee-jerk reactions to what is going on around us relationally, we are to stop and consider the context and the desired outcome. And then act appropriately, according to the Jesus Creed!

Along with that I have come to believe (over the past 15 years) that Hersey and Blanchard's model of "Situational Leadership" was birthed as an insight into how God leads: not according to where or how they (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) want to lead us, but according to our readiness level for following their lead.

This comes out most often these days with my three young sons. When I focus on MY plans, I tend to be disappointed that they are not all carefully following my steps. But when I work with each one of them according to [their] ability to see, understand and respond to my plans ... well, it's a whole different story.

How grateful I am that God leads me according to my ability to follow. This is another point at which "The Shack" spoke powerfully to me. I can't remember off the top of my head which "person" of God had this conversation with Mack, but the gist was: when God works with us, there is no sense of impatience when we don't quite get it right. There is only love that waits and forgives and tries again ... and again ... and again. Because that is what a good father does: not give up!


I've also embraced the "Five Love Languages" as an important filter for how we are to apply the Jesus Creed. I've processed it in connection with understanding the Hebrew concept of hesed (most often translated as love, grace, mercy) as covenant keeping -- which I have now come to realize is "living the Jesus Creed."

I have made a chart that helps me keep my brain wrapped around this. You can find it here, if you're interested:

Not only do we need to love people in their primary language, we need to become fluent in all the languages so that we all become "multi-lingual" -- recognizing that we all have the need to be loved in each of the five categories.

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So, that's all for now ... but stay tuned, I've got a little book review in the works!

Desiring to always be ready to follow Papa's lead.

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