He plucked at his fingernails with his arms crossed. Defiant young eyes averted and glazed over in anticipation of another scolding. At the end of a long work day, in the midst of an already stressful week, I felt certain my patience-tank was too empty to be as loving as I ought to be toward the rebelling child.
She let out a complaint. Her fifth in an hour. How badly I’d wanted to enjoy the time together but her insistence on the negative was getting under my skin. Nothing was good enough, no kindness pleasing enough, and, disappointed and frustrated, I was ready to check out mentally.
It’s moments like these that I feel like giving patience, grace, or love costs me too much.
But I’m trying to get better at pausing to ask questions in the moment before just “going with” the feeling. In this instance, I asked myself:
“What does it cost me?”
The Cost of Loving Others
At a glance, the cost of loving others is steep:
- We have to wrangle our own desires and emotions
- Sometimes we need to apologize
- Placing others above ourselves does mean we’re not in first place
- Vulnerability and risk come in giving away something that isn’t reciprocated
- It can feel like there are limits to how much patience and grace we actually have
- Time and energy and effort go into being discerning about our responses to others
There’s a cost to patiently correcting a willful kid when they’re pushing every button. We all know how hard it can be to choose kindness and grace when someone is getting on our nerves.
The Account We Can Pay From
Digging deeper, it helps to change the emphasis: “What does it cost me?”
Truthfully, when I’m abiding in Christ, I have to admit the answer is nothing.The account we’re given to operate from is limitless. Our God-given budget of grace and kindness and patience is endless. Click To Tweet
- The desires and emotions to be wrangled in love are managed by the Holy Spirit, who tirelessly works on our behalf.
- We’ve been forgiven much- so much we have no excuse for not being forgiving
- God says the last will be first- deferring to others brings us closer to Christ, not farther away
- Almighty God protects and provides for us perfectly in our vulnerability (He is enough!)
- He gives generously the fruit of the Spirit, the abundant riches of His grace are ours to share
- God answers us, teaches us, and works through us. There isn’t anything we need to live godly lives that He doesn’t give us- even time and energy.
What Does Love Cost Us?
The only cost to us is putting ourselves aside to obey what God wants to accomplish through us. It can feel risky to do this- to think of ourselves less and to give when we doubt we even have. But…
When we feel like the cost of doing what God asks us to is too great, we need to remember the account we pay from is limitless. Because Christ’s love for us and His help for us is limitless.
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