Today's reading teaches that in order to love eachother as Jesus loves us, we need to model Jesus' example in four areas: fellowship, forgiveness, acceptance, and sacrifice. Today we focus on the first two.
At the end of today's chapter we had two questions to consider. I have two answers for those questions :)
1. How can I take my experiences of fellowship a step deeper?
The book describes fellowship as "companionship of individuals in a congenial atmosphere." The two key words here are 'companionship' and 'congenial.' So in layman's terms: fellowship is spending time with people I like and doing things I enjoy doing with them.
I am a people person. I am also an activity person. I have an activity or two for every day, and usually I try to find a way to invite other people to most of them.
Whether it be an afternoon at the playground, icecream at the PX or an evening in the backyard, I am happier if I have other people around to share the experience with.
What I am noticing, though, is that far too much of what I would consider fellowship is scheduled around my kids' activities so they have opportunities to socialize. I enjoy the playground, icecream, and playing in the backyard because my kids do. However, I can take my experience of fellowship a step deeper by scheduling time together with friends doing grown-up activities too. Once upon a time, I used to like to do things that were not showcased on Nick Jr or Parents Connect. I need to take time to get back to that person, and I need to take some of my lady friends along with me!
Frankly, this might be a challenging time to start doing it, just because my husband is gone and I will need to find alternative care for my kids so I can do these activities. But where there is a will, there is always a way. ;)
2. Who is the person in my life I need to forgive?
ME! I know that sounds strange, so let me explain...
Of course, if you read yesterday's blog, you realize that I am not immune to anger or resentment against other people. I am, however, always quicker to make excuses for other people and to forgive other people of their transgressions than I am to forgive myself of my own. I take the blame and bear my guilt forever.
Call it the curse of being the first-born child. I am an extreme perfectionist, I am my harshest critic, and I am my toughest judge. I am telling the truth when I say that people usually get away with being nasty towards me because I am quick to decide what I must have done to make them act that way. No matter the offense, it is always largely my fault (or so I tell myself.)
Praise God for being so much more forgiving than I am! I need to have faith that when I ask for forgiveness, I am made clean. Then I can learn from my mistakes and move on. I need to quit blaming the mistakes of others on myself. I am not Jesus...I do not have to bear the burden of their sins. But I do need to forgive them as Jesus has forgiven me.
Someone give me an amen :)