It’s been a crazy two weeks for our family. An unexpected event has turned our world upside down. We’ve grieved. We’ve felt angry. We’ve felt hurt. We’ve had to process those emotions with the Lord and with others. And then we had to start making several significant life changes for our family that weren’t even on our radar 2 weeks ago.
The Lord doesn’t waste turbulent times like these.
His biggest challenge to me in the midst of this craziness has been to take a look at my heart and to really examine how well (or how poorly, as the case may be) I love other people.
There’s a passage of scripture that reads, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 2:3-5).
This is a convicting knife to the heart when you’re feeling wronged and hurt by someone else. We still have to value them? We still have to consider their interests? We have to think about them as Christ thinks about them?
What, exactly, is “the mindset of Christ”?
Verse 7, “…he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant…” and verse 8, “…he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death…” (Philippians 2:7, 8).
Christ’s mindset toward others – all others, even those who don’t “deserve” His love – is to serve them humbly and to die to Himself. When Jesus hung on that cross, He didn’t do it because it was in His best interest. When He was beaten beyond all recognition, Jesus’ thoughts weren’t fixed on Himself. He was solely concerned with doing what was in our best interest.
“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,” 1 John 3:16.
Even our brothers and sisters who hurt us? Yes. (Matthew 5:43-48)
Even our brothers and sisters who repeatedly hurt us? Yes. (Matthew 18:21-22)
I struggled long and hard with that last one. I wrestled all last week, looking for scriptural loop holes. I came up empty. The Lord kept bringing me back to two thoughts:
- If I give up on those who hurt me, how will they ever grow?
- How many times has Jesus given up on me?
That second thought puts a lump in my throat every time I think about it. Jesus has never, for any reason, ever refused me another chance. How dare I ever consider, for any reason, refusing to give someone else another chance? Jesus has forgiven me too much for me to wash my hands of someone else (Luke 7:47).
Having the mind of Christ toward others is longing to see them grow in their relationships with the Lord no matter what it costs me.