You've heard the cliche': "the honeymoon is over."
Thanks to Dr. Gary Chapman I know most relationships go through a two year honeymoon stage. That's true with friends, a significant other, our neighbors and people in our church.
During those two years we think the best about the person, take his/her words in the best possible way, and overlook even glaring faults.
After two years we are not so gracious.
We ruminate on words.
Did she mean that? Was he trying to put me down?
We mistake actions and judge intentions.
It's at that point that love becomes a choice. We have to decide if we'll hold a grudge, give tit for tat put downs and keep score. We decide to keep peace or dress for battle.
As a woman now married twenty years I find Paul's advice to the Romans to be the motto I need to keep in front of me day after day.
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18).
You can't make everyone like you all the time, but you can do your part.
Remember when in the second chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that worried him? He decided to make his wise men tell him the dream and the meaning of the dream to make sure they weren't fakes. When they couldn't, he ordered all the wise men executed.
Do you remember when the man came to Daniel's door with orders to execute him?
We're told Daniel spoke to the man with "wisdom and tact" (Daniel 2:14).
That seems to be a better plan than to greet him with sarcasm, and yet sarcasm comes easily, and excuses as to why no one would expect us to be polite given the situation.
Jesus didn't give us an out. He expects us to go beyond easy love.
How do you pray for your enemies?
You start by praying they walk with the Lord and that He brings them to a knowledge of the truth. Then you pray that all your ways would be ways of love, and that your words and actions help them to know and feel and see the love of Christ, that you would be a perfume that attracts others to their Savior.
The apostle Paul said,
When you have the perspective of eternity, it's easy to see how so little of we fight about is worth our time and energy. The stakes are high. Love overcomes. If even one person goes to heaven because of the love we've shown, then it was worth it to hold the tongue, overlook and choose the battles that need to be fought, while praying about a whole bunch of others that merely take your eye from the prize.