The sacrificial way of love
“1Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and 2walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Follow God’s example and walk in the way of love. What does that look like? v4:32 says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ in God forgave you” by, as v4:31 teaches us, “getting rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, fighting, slander, and malice, and replace it with compassion and forgiveness. Sounds right, doesn’t it?
Compassion. How do you get compassion? It’s easy when you’ve been there, but I haven’t been everywhere, only Christ has done that. Go to a place where you have no compassion and spend some time there, understand the issue, see if you don’t develop some compassion. Repeat. Pretty soon, you’ll develop the skills to have compassion no matter what the situation. Remember, God has written these rules on our heart and we just need to free them from our suppression.
Forgiveness. How do you learn to truly forgive? How do you learn to “let go and let God”? It’s easy and hard at the same time. Lack of forgiveness is caused by resentments. If you don’t have a resentment towards someone, forgiveness is easy, right? However, resentments are like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Holding on to resentments means to we want something in return, some sort of cost to be extracted from the other person so we can get “even”. Plotting, planning, wishing, waiting for that other person(s) to get their due. Think of all the space in your head that takes up, the energy, that could be put to better use on the ones you love. Think of all the energy that could be used for good instead of bitterness. Let go, let God. It’s His place to decide the final act of justice. Take an eternal perspective and your forgiveness from the clutches of yourself.
We are called to serve God, not ourselves. Use your energy to fight injustice at a greater level (in the fight you might just catch up the one who wronged you) out of love, compassion, and forgiveness, not bitterness, rage, anger, fighting, slander, and malice. These are commands from Christ that demand sacrifice and free us to live, truly live.