Being right, but acting badly

I hate it when I lose my temper and the moral high ground. I hate that part of me that blows it when I’m in the right and damages the truth in the process.

I’ve watched myself do this a bunch of times recently. And I hang my head and shake it when I think of how I undermine the truth by my emotional outbursts.

I yelled at someone who treated my wife badly. I over-lectured my kids when they did something inappropriate. I over-argued a political point.

In each case, I started out right but ended up wrong.

The means are as important as the message. The truth delivered at the point of the dagger becomes something other the truth. Wisdom spoken with a sneer promotes folly. Facts spoken without grace are lifeless and cold.

There is a kindness that rises from being loved that I want to know and express. It’s not based on the feelings of the moment but on the solid reality of a true love that isn’t fickle like emotions, an acted-out love that has shown the way of kindness.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

 We love because he first loved us.

These words from 1 John 4:10-11 & 18 are the grounds for a kindness that is deeper than feelings.

In Jesus, God showed a love, a kindness, that wasn’t based on our actions or feelings toward him. On the contrary, he acted completely the opposite of how we acted toward him. He loved the unloving, the unlovely. He accepts us while we rejected him. He did not retaliate or stoop to our level of bad behavior, even though we were hurting him while he was loving us.

As those who have received this kind of love, we have a personal reality from which to live and love out of. And on top of that, we have a model for the kind of love we are to step into and act out ourselves.

There is a kindness that we have experienced from God that exceeds the lack of kindness we experience from others. There is a truth that has been spoken to us that exceeds the lack of truth spoken to us and about us by others. Both teach us and enable us to live both truthfully and kindly ourselves. And especially when we really don’t feel like it.

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