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Today’s Truth

"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.'"

John 7:37-38

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!

Let’s Pray

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,

Amen.

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.

11 Responses to “Proposing”

  1. Sally says:

    Such awesome truth! Consistent, gentle, grace-filled “proposing” is, ultimately, so much more effective than “imposing.” But we have to remember that the results are in God’s hands and God’s timing, which requires faith and trust. Thanks, Melissa, for this encouragement today.

  2. Susan says:

    Melissa, I needed this so much today. With the tension in the political air in every area from U.S. and world politics to the Church itself, listening well is a lost art. Thank you!

  3. Debra Annice Reed says:

    Article titled Proposal posed some questions for me.

    Be ye holy as I am holy
    Love one another as I have loved you
    Forgive, for as ye forgive, ye shall be forgiven
    Children obey your parents
    Husbands, love your wives…..
    Are you saying that these are suggestions, proposals, from God and not commands of God?
    A proposal is something I can choose to follow or choose not to follow!
    Please, explain.I must be misunderstanding your meaning.

    • Hi Debra! I certainly appreciate you asking this question. I wholeheartedly believe the commands of God are to be obeyed. This article is more about how we present God’s love to others. Jesus offered Himself but many rejected Him. In the same way, we present God’s Gospel truth, but leave the results up to God. We offer God’s way (of obedience to Him) but we can’t force Him on anyone. God doesn’t force Himself on people – He offers Himself. Once we choose to follow Him and trust Him, then we obey His commands knowing they are the way that leads to life. Does that help?

  4. catherine says:

    You are invited to come into relationship with our Lord and God. The relationship is proposed to us all. When we respond to the invitation, God teaches truth to us. The truth is undeniable and unwavering and requires our obedience.

  5. Debra Annice Reed says:

    Go into the hedges and highways and compel men to come…is pertaining to leading the lost to Salvation through acceptance of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Compel means in Latin com =together pel= drive. Together drive men to the saving Grace of God, by love and godly example: be intentional with urgency to persuade them to surrender to the will of God. That is not the same as proposal. Seek out the lost and compel them to come to Jesus!

    • Debra, I totally appreciate your desire for others to come close to the Lord. We have that in common. I have never met someone who said they were pressured, forced, or argued into God’s kingdom. We present God’s truth, but each person must decide. When Jesus told the parable of compelling others, it inspires me to want to share the message often, humbly, and in a way that is most relevant in our context and culture.

  6. Laura says:

    This could not come as a better time. Thank you for letting God speak thru you. So many in our nation on forcing their perspectives in nonproductive ways. In my family, we do not see eye to eye but I quietly (although thought to be narrow mindedly) listen and assure them that God is in control. We must speak up when it is wrong but not in violence or by tearing down another human being. Prayers for America and how every Christian can minister to a hurting nation. Lead me Jesus and thank you for your word today.

  7. ana says:

    Great post! & imposing your personal convictions i assume shouldn’t also be forced aswell. Wouldnt want to make things worse …right?

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8