You’re Bringing Me Down…But His Love Never Fails!

19 10 2010

You can’t count on people to help you make your climb to the top; however you can expect them to try and knock you down once you get there.

I’m replaying Pixar’s short film, “For the Birds,” in my head, and remembering the story.  You’ve got a little bird who lands on a wire, and feels pretty good about himself. He’s subsequently joined by others who take the spotlight off him, and he becomes visibly annoyed, expressing his displeasure to the other birds around him. Once the little birds are joined by a big bird, who is “different” than them, they turn their attention to him, channeling their frustration, pecking at him and eventually knocking him down off the wire. What the little birds didn’t realize was that the big bird was weighing down the wire, and once he fell off, the wire sprung back and hurled them through the air like a slingshot causing physical harm and much embarrassment to themselves. Find it on YouTube if you haven’t seen it.

All the while as the little birds pecked at him, the big bird was unaware of their disdain for him, even blissfully so. This is one of the aspects from the story that I connect to the Father, and his love for His children; even when we are being attacked, he works everything out for our good!

It’s usually at our highest, happiest points in life, on those mountaintop experiences where we feel like we could just jump off and soar, that we can expect people to bring us back down to earth. Perhaps it’s a misguided intention to keep us from becoming too proud. Or perhaps it’s simply jealousy. Either way, when people bring you down, it hurts.

Ever overheard a conversation where someone was putting you down behind your back? Or had someone use a weak compliment as a means to deliver a hurtful, thinly-veiled criticism, right to your face? It hurts. The sad part is that usually the people that we allow closest to us are the ones with the ability to hurt us the most.

What entices us to bring down the ones we love? I try to give people the benefit of the doubt when they are delivering those painful blows, believing that causing hurt isn’t their true intention, but an inadvertent reaction to an underlying issue, rooted in jealousy, pride or hurt of their own. It is this belief that reminds me again of 1 Peter 4:8; And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

Love never fails. Love calls forth a maturity that causes us to put away our childish ways and wisely reason with faith, hope and love. Our spiritual growth can be stunted when we allow hurt to take root and become an obsession, leaving us to function from within that obsession in an immaturity based on hurt, pride and jealousy. Love is not just a word, or a way to qualify a condemning or criticizing point of view; rather, love is a mature action that calls forth “the best” in people, without the predetermination of what “the best” is for them.

Peace & Love.

Travis





Offensive Love: Disarming Weapons of Mass Emotion

8 10 2010

I am a guy living in a house with three women. Two of them are under the age of five, the other is my beautiful wife. As I clumsily navigate through a minefield of emotional needs of the females in our home, I’ve observed both the joyous thrill of successfully deactivating and disarming an emotional bombshell, and the devastation of inadvertently detonating an explosion of hurt, anger and tears.

When a conflict arises, for the most part, I don’t think either party expects war to suddenly break out. I think the general intention of each side is to be heard and in good faith negotiate a peaceful settlement. Where this “peace process” becomes derailed is when there are fundamental, uncompromisable differences or when emotions come into play.

Usually at the first hint of emotional war I go to “DEFCON 1” and prepare to defend and protect my pride and dignity, while simultaneously going into damage control mode, attempting to capture and disarm all of the emotional missiles of hurt, pride, fear or anger before they can be launched, and wrap up the conflict before any major damage can be done by either party.

One of the biggest problems with this defensive strategy, however, is that by preventing the explosion nothing changes. The landscape, the politics, the economy all continue as they were, and any discord simply simmers below the surface until the fragile cease-fire is broken and the full arsenal from the previously-averted conflict plus new ammunition is unleashed with a greater ferocity than the last attack.

A proven strategy of averting war is to maintain a positive presence during peacetime. Countries will often have troops on the ground in humanitarian or peacekeeping roles, developing a relationship with the locals, understanding their needs and assisting wherever possible. This is a good example of a peaceful one-on-one relationship as well, staying engaged with each other’s day-to-day needs so that we can understand each other’s perspective when conflicts do arise.

I call it “offensive love.” Rather than choosing the selfish, defensive route, take to the offensive, spending time intentionally tending to the emotional needs of the people closest to you, and be reminded that we aren’t adversaries, but allies.

Peace.

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”








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