When you're dealing with the people in your life, do you lead with gratitude? Do you begin with faith?
The people in the church at Corinth had huge issues. And we'll be delving in detail into those issues over the next few weeks. But Paul, the apostle, does not come out of the gate with frustration, anger, directives and discipline.
Given the volume and the size of the spiritual struggles that this congregation faced, I don't think anyone would have faulted Paul had he led out with a bit of negativity. But he doesn't. And by taking a positive, encouraging, grateful and faith-filled approach, Paul teaches us a ton about how to deal with difficult relationships.
Be grateful for all people, no matter how much they might test you at times. And when you find it really, really tough to put your faith in a person, or extend respect to them, then turn to God, pray for that person, and put your faith in God.
The reasons for this are obvious, aren't they? People are sinful, weak and untrustworthy. God, on the other hand, is pure, strong and completely trustworthy at all times.
Even more, by dealing with the Corinthians like this, Paul is truly a reflection of the love of Christ -- God's mercy and grace. He shows us how Jesus deals with us.
Because all of us are "difficult people" at times, aren't we? All of us require a little extra grace on some days. That's just what Paul extends to the Corinthians. And that's just what Jesus still extends to us every day! Grace, after all, is what truly changes hearts and lives.
So, in our relationships with one another, how about we make this commitment? We will lead with thanksgiving and faith!
"I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge — God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:4-9, NIV).
Our Bible reading for Tuesday, August 4, is 1 Chronicles 16:37 - 18:17, 1 Corinthians 1:1-17 and Proverbs 19:3-12. Lord, thank you for all the spiritual blessings you have given me, starting with your mercy, grace and forgiveness. Thank you for the people you have placed in my life too. Help me to be grace-filled and faith-filled as I relate to the people around me.
Header image based on "Gratitude changes the way we look at the world" by BK, CC By-SA 2.0