Choosing Joy…

This time of year is difficult for many people. They may have gone through a number of transitions in their lives – job loss, divorce, illness, even the loss of a loved one. And this time of year doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in people anyway. I know that sounds odd, but it is true.

On Black Friday, the news reports were filled with images of people fighting in stores and in several Walmart toy aisles, people were actually laying on the floor, on top of the toys they were claiming as their own. People were throwing punches at each other and security guards were called in to sort out the disputes. At a well known local store, a person was murdered and the store will be closed until further notice. How tragic.

At another location, television sets were apparently deeply discounted and people were fighting over saving several hundred dollars. And in a final twist of irony, a woman and her aged mother were standing in line prior to the opening of a store on Black Friday. The woman left the line to visit a restroom and upon her return, other people refused to let her back into place, even though her aged mother was still there. People accused her of cutting into line, the situation got violent and police were called to decide who to arrest. Really? Has it come to this?

And within families, things aren’t generally much better. Tempers flare, people are on edge and everybody plants a stake in the ground claiming that their position is the only correct one. There are episodes of anger, jealousy and, of course, hurt. None of these are easy to fix and sometimes, family arguments are the worst arguments.

Janet and I were discussing a variety of these issues and she made an interesting observation. She said that “being kind was more important that being right.” Now to those of us who are wound a little tight, this is a difficult concept to accept. But I know where Janet is coming from. In fact, in our entire lives, I really can’t think of anyone who doesn’t care for her. And that’s because Janet never makes it about herself. And that extends to making sure that others feel welcome. Another reason is that Janet chooses to live a joyful life. Admittedly, I struggle with that sometimes.

I get stuck in the idea  of being right – and sometimes the kindness part doesn’t shine through like it should. But Christ died for all our sins and God has forgiven us our sins. Why is it that we have such a difficult time forgiving others sometimes? The Scripture is clear that forgiveness is something desired by God. And when we forgive others, and can be content in our decision, we experience joy. Jesus was rather clear on this point.

We are told in the book of John that Jesus wants us to love one another as He has loved us. Our verse for the evening highlights the fact that loving one another emulates the love that God has for His Son and that His Son has for us. By loving one another, John tells us, in John 15:11, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” In other words, knowing Jesus, and loving one another well will result in the deepest joy of Christ being in each of us. Furthermore, when it all happens together, our joy will be complete – totally complete… lacking nothing… 

My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to choose a joyful existence – one that comes from a loving relationship with Him and with each other. My prayer is that you will consider that it may well be more important to be kind than to be right. At least, that’s what Janet says – and I have a suspicion that she is absolutely right. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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