For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. –John 3:16, 17 NIV
Whose best are you giving? Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt that no matter how you toiled, the relationship couldn’t get past this one offensive issue? And after making several attempts to present your case concerning the offense to your offender—still no progress or change. I’ve been in this predicament in my relationships before.
After I made these attempts, sometimes the person would respond to my presentation of their offense with an, “Okay, I’m sorry.” But this sorry didn’t satisfy me? So, we remained stuck at that offense. Why? Because their “I’m sorry” had the tone of someone who had been backed up in a corner and forced to apologize. So, I wouldn’t stop there, I would continue to press in and require what I felt was due, a sincere apology. And after not being able to take my pulling (or what seemed like badgering to them) for a more sincere response any longer, their tone would become even firmer: “I said I was sorry.” They felt that what they had given me should have been enough, and they were agitated at whatever “that thing” was in me that was requiring more from them. I thought my reason for being so adamant about a sincere apology was because I wanted reconciliation. But sometimes I wonder if it was reconciliation that I was after— or if I could just be honest, was it justice that I wanted?
On some days they both looked the same to me—depending on how my emotions were fluctuating that day. You see, to me, justice meant: sincerely admitting when you were wrong when you offended me.Those we are accusing (or maybe you’re the one being accused) may feel that they’ve done everything they knew to do to make the relationship or situation better. But what this may mean to that person is that they’ve done everything that they’ve determined should be necessary to fix what is broken. They may genuinely feel that they’ve given “their best” and that should be good enough. But “our best” is never enough; it is tainted with selfish motives, full of pride, self-deception, self-preservation, rudeness, arrogance, impatience, lacks compassion and so on. We need to give “God’s best.” “God’s best” is His love. (Read 1 Corinthians 13 chapter).
Because I’ve always tried to give “my best” (such as apologizing when I’m wrong) in my relationships, it didn’t seem unrealistic to me to expect and require that of others. I’ve never struggled with apologizing; it came pretty easy for me. But I now realize that it came easy for me because I was raised in a household where we were always apologized to when there was an offense. I wasn’t wrong for thinking that a person who had offended me should apologize with sincerity. It was and still is the right thing to do. But because we all have some area that we struggle in, I shouldn’t have judged the person who struggled with apologizing so harshly. We all come from different places, with different backgrounds and experiences. Some experiences were good and some were bad and they have affected us negatively or positively. They have shaped the areas that we struggle in or succeed in. I may not struggle with apologizing, but I definitely struggle with self-righteousness. I have had to learn that expecting an apology is not the same as self-righteously demanding one and showing no mercy.
My parents modeled before me and taught me “God’s best” (His love). His love is unconditional and doesn’t condemn us. But they did not teach me to taint His best with “my best.” And yes, I was taught that “God’s best” will cause you to apologize with sincerity when you are wrong. And that His love always takes a gentle tone, humble posture and will lead you to prefer othersover yourself. All of this is true. But I seem to sometimes have problem remembering that I was also taught that “His best” forgives quickly, shows mercy, doesn’t judge others and isn’t self-righteous.
God’s love did not demand that we pay a debt for our sins. He knew we could not pay it. That is why He showed us mercy by sending His best, His Son Jesus, to pay the debt we owed. Prayer:Dear God, Please allow your Holy Spirit to reveal to me when I’m not giving “Your best” to those whom I am in relationship. Help me to present “Your best” to the world. Thank You for Your patience in the areas that I’m struggling in and grace me to be more patient with the struggles of others. Help me to release my offender to You for you to deal with those struggles in them that are causing me pain. I trust You because You judge fairly and righteously and are always just. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Are you giving “your best” in your relationships or are you giving “God’s best?” Please feel free to comment below.
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