The Upper Room Devotion for Monday, January 29, 2024, was written by Ruth Gunter Mitchell of Alabama.
11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. 13 Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. 16 We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17 How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? 18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.
1 John 3:11-18NRSV
I hate to admit it, but my children and grandchildren are not perfect. But even though I may not always agree with or approve of their actions, I will forever love them unconditionally. I consider myself a tolerant person, but I don't appreciate it when others want to harm or criticize my family. In those times, I will speak up even though I'm timid. Because of the intense love I feel for my family, I think I have a small understanding of God's love for all of us, God's children.
None of us is perfect, but we are all God's creation. When I want to be critical or judgmental of others, I try to remind myself that I would not appreciate hateful remarks about my own family. I need to give the same respect to God's children. Furthermore, as a parent and grandparent, nothing thrills me more than when others recognize the goodness of my family and give them support and affection. As imperfect as we all are, I believe God is truly pleased when we see and appreciate the good in God's children.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
We make mistakes, but we are not mistakes. God continues to view us from the perspective of the potential we have to become all God envisioned us to become. It's easy to judge others we disagree with, whose viewpoint is opposite our own. It's easy for us demonize those to whom we deem morally bankrupt or intellectually inferior. Yet, Ruth's reflection reminds us, that none of us is perfect. Indeed, as people of faith, we are instructed to compare ourselves to the example Christ sets for us. In so doing, we will always be humbled and more focused on overcoming our own issues versus judging others for their issues. I encourage you to ask God to allow you to see the potential in others, as God sees the potential in you.
Dear Father, thank you for loving us all as your children. We pray that you will guide us to love all your chilren as you have loved us. Amen.