The other day on my Instagram (@MyOneComfort) a fellow blogger (@faithitlikeaboss) commented on a post about 1 Peter 4:8. She said she was listening to Andy Stanley on love and how he said we should always aim to believe the best about anyone’s motives – it makes it easier to love them. Start with positive assumptions unless proven otherwise.
While I absolutely agree with this concept, I find it hard to rewire my brain to put it into practice. Some recent examples of times that I failed at this: A friend was having a bad day and said some not so nice things towards me and all of the sudden that person is on my “bad friend” list. A sister doesn’t text or call back so she clearly must not care about me anymore. A close friend cancels plans so it must mean that they have something better to do than hang out with me. Or my husband doesn’t clean what I asked him to on my expected timeframe so automatically he has disrespected me.
In every one of these cases, there is another side of the story aside from the one that I’ve made up in my head. And if I could take the time to consider what may be going on in that person’s life then I may understand that in order to love them it requires me to set aside my presuppositions and respond in the way that I would want to be treated, regardless of if that’s the way they treated me. Jesus doesn’t say “Love others because, or as, they love you”. Rather, he says “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). When I act as if the world always revolves around me, it doesn’t give God the opportunity to have the world revolve around him in my heart and actions.
While there are corrupt people out there who do look to take advantage of naive or trusting people, most of the close people in our lives probably don’t fall into that bucket. I think that our relationships, and especially our marriages, would flourish if we chose a response and presupposition of love first.
Love Endures All Things
We are told to form relationships with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but these can easily be wrecked by making one bad assumption. Our hearts have been hardened over the years because we have been hurt by people we have deeply loved and trusted. Our hearts begin to fill with hurt and anger and we start to pull away to protect ourselves. Sadly, we start to believe that they are hiding their true intentions and by doing so they are going to continue to fail us.
“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2.
So many times I have been quick to consider another’s sin, and count them as a loss in my life. If we continually jump to wrongful assumptions about others, we will be filled with disappointment and resentment, ruining our relationships in the process. That is not a fun way to live!
All of us want others to assume the best in us so why are we reluctant to extend the same grace to others? God doesn’t assume the worst in us and he asks us not to do that with others.
Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs
In 1 Corinthians 13, we find that Christ-like love is a very special, unique kind of love that assumes no wrong, accepts our imperfections and those of others, and repeatedly forgives. We need to remember that God’s love is steadfast because the people who are most important to us are going to stay steadfast because of His love in them.
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5.
While Jesus did not disregard those who sinned against the Father, his default disposition was one of love, hope, grace, and kindness. If we love as Christ loves, we will let God’s love shine through us.
Biblical Example of Love
Love is the behavior we are to display towards others, which you can read about here. Our love needs to be modeled after Jesus. He never second-guessed or assumed that someone should not be loved. Just as Christ loves His children unconditionally, He calls us to love others and extend the same mercy that was given to us on the cross.
“It [love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7.
The love of Christ is slow to anger and gives others the benefit of the doubt. It means we are able to look over the mishaps of others. With God’s love in us, we are to bear all things, believe all things and endure all things.
I challenge you to catch yourself this week when you automatically jump to assumptions about someone else. Ask God to help you stop and focus on your thoughts and open your heart to not fearing being hurt but enduring temporary offenses in light of what He is doing in our lives. Repeat this until the assumption passes and you can love on that person in a better way.