Too often our motivations are effectively set for us by others and by this, I mean, we behave as they behave. If you are grumpy toward me then I will in turn be grumpy toward you. You’re not smiling today? Then don’t expect any smiles from me coming your way. If you aren’t doing your job then why should I do mine…and on it goes: Action, then Reaction.
How utterly tragic.
Jesus came to radically change this cycle. You are a sinner—I’ll save you. You are lost—I’ll find you. You are guilty—I’ll take your place, I will take the blame, I will be the one cursed, I’ll die instead of you.
When we ‘get’ the gospel then we will always be deliberately acting like Jesus instead of reacting toward others as if Jesus didn’t exist. Consider these admonitions from Romans 12.
Let love be without hypocrisy.
Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Be of the same mind toward one another.
Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.
Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil.
Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.
Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
And do try this at home.