"On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.'"
Friend to Friend
Getting along is so hard. One of the things that makes it so difficult is our tendency to project our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs onto to others. Our default is to think:
- What annoys me also annoys everyone else.
- What doesn’t bother me shouldn’t bother anyone else.
- If I need time to process things, so does everyone else.
- If I don’t need time to process, then you shouldn’t either.
- When I know the right way, I should keep pushing until everyone acknowledges that my way is right.
You get the idea.
How can we step outside our own way of feeling and thinking and see other’s points of view? Yet in the midst of trying to understand others, how do we still be true to how God has wired us and also hold fast to our beliefs? These are questions at the heart of living love when we disagree. One thing that has struck me lately is an observation someone made at a conference I attended a few weeks ago. The speaker said,
“Jesus proposed truth, but He didn’t impose it.”
He pointed out that Jesus didn’t force Himself or His gospel on people. He offered it like crazy, but He didn’t impose it. He said anyone who was thirsty could come to Him and drink and receive streams of living water. Jesus didn’t tie people up in strait jackets and pour His water down their throats. He didn’t impose His love, His truth, or His life. Instead He offered it. He proposed a new way to live in total dependence on God. He proposed humility, freedom, and forgiveness for whoever would believe in Him and follow Him.
As His followers, we can learn from His way. We live love by proposing our beliefs, our way of thinking, and our feelings. However, we shouldn’t impose them on others. Instead, we listen with understanding. We explain our perspectives, but we don’t get angry when others see things from a different point of view.
Just last night I wanted to make a point and get my husband to agree with my opinion. I went too far. I wanted him in a straightjacket so I could pour my truth water down his throat. It was over the littlest thing like what noises are annoying to most people. Don’t laugh, I bet some of your fights are silly too. Right?
Let’s learn to propose like Jesus. To offer a thirsty world the best water – whether it is those in our own family, our community, or even strangers on social media. When others prefer not to drink our water, we don’t have to keep pushing our way. Instead we continue to freely offer and live love… especially when we don’t see eye to eye!
I hope you’ll remember today that Jesus is proposing to you! He invites you to drink His satisfying water as you walk through the ups and downs of life today. Say YES!
Dear Lord, we want to follow You. We long to know you and emulate You in our understanding of truth but also in how we communicate our beliefs. You are the Truth. We long to drink Your living water and offer it to a thirsty world. Show us how to do it Your way.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Think right now of that person who drives you a little bit crazy. Maybe you disagree on many topics or they just simply annoy you because you are so different. Consider how you might offer them Jesus’s living water today in a proposing rather than imposing way. Say a kind word, bless them with an anonymous gift, or take the time to really listen to what they have to say.
More from the Girlfriends
Melissa Spoelstra is a women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages know Christ more intimately through serious Bible study. She is the author of Mom’s Choice Award-winning Total Family Makeover as well as three women’s Bible studies including First Corinthians, Joseph, and Jeremiah. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids. Sign up on her website today to be entered into a contest to win a free copy of her latest Bible study First Corinthians: Living Love When We Disagree at www.melissaspoelstra.com.