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Love Above Criticism


Do you try to catch people in a trap with their own words? Are you a schemer that is constantly looking for a way to put people down, catch them in the act of doing something wrong? A lot of the time, we're not actively seeking to hurt those around us, but in a world that's so competitive and fast-paced, we don't always consider how our words affect others. It's easy to forget how to treat others the way we want to be treated, with love and kindness, and not critiquing and criticizing. Jesus teaches us to act out of love, even in the times where people try to trap him.

Today's Gospel states:'And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -- he then said to the paralytic -- "Rise, take up your bed and go home." And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men' (Matthew 9:1-8).

Today's Gospel talks about how the people try to catch Jesus in a trap of speaking blasphemy. How often do we criticize and critique those around us for the same things? Maybe you have a friend who swears a lot, curses in the Lord's name. How do you react? Do you call them out for it, or react in a good, loving manner? Think about how the people tested Jesus to prove he was the Son of God. Take some time to ask God to help you act out of love.

Today's prayer comes from 'Crosswalk' a prayer of love:

Dear God,

Thank you that you are a loving, gracious God. Thank you that you’ve offered us forgiveness and the gift of new life in you. Thank you that your love is perfect, it never fails, and that nothing can separate us from your love.

We pray that our lives would be filled and overflowing with the power of your love so we can make a difference in this world and bring honor to you. We ask for your help in reminding us that the most important things are not what we do outwardly, it’s not based on any talent or gift, but the most significant thing we can do in this life is simply to love you and to choose to love others.

Lord thank you that your love is patient. Help us show patience with those around us.

Lord thank you that your love is kind. Help us to extend kindness to others.

Lord thank you that true love is not jealous. Help us cast aside feelings of jealousy or hatred towards others.

Lord thank you that your love does not brag and is not arrogant. Help us not to live with pride or arrogance, but to choose to walk with humility and grace.

Lord thank you that true love does not act unbecomingly. Lord help us to extend kindness instead of rudeness towards others. Help us to lay aside the critical tone and tearing down with our words, so that we can truly walk in peace.

Lord thank you that true love does not seek its own. Lord help us not to live selfishly, looking only to our own interests.

Lord thank you that true love is not provoked. Lord help us not to become easily angered. Help us not to be so quickly reactive, but instead slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Lord thank you that your love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Lord help us not to hold grudges, but to choose to forgive, even when it’s difficult.

Lord thank you that your love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Lord help us to love your words of truth, may we walk in your freedom and wisdom. Let it be what drives our lives and choices every day.

Lord thank you that your love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, thank you that your love never fails.

Help us to love as you love. Fill us with your Spirit so that we can choose what is best. We are weak Lord, but we know also, that even when we are weak, you are strong within us. Thank you that it’s not all up to us. Thank you that you equip us to face each day with the power of your love, your forgiveness, and your grace.

We love you Lord, and we need you today, and every day,

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.


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