For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the “Good Girl.” The kind one. The honest one. The encouraging one. The happy one. The good one. I knew the right things to do and say: what my family wanted, what my friends wanted, even what I thought God wanted. I was polished on the outside, doing all the “right” things, but on the inside, I was selfish. I was angry. I felt inadequate. I was driven by performance and perfection.
Like most of you, I love to watch rom-coms. I’m not the biggest fan of the Hallmark channel, but my parents are in December and February. My personal favorite movie is 10 Things I Hate About You, but I am definitely a sucker for the storylines in The Notebook, The Longest Ride, The Proposal, The Lucky One and plenty of Disney favorites (I am a proud Disney fanatic, no shame). But friends, we need to WAKE UP.
Our culture has taught us that to love someone you need to accept them, all of them. Tolerance is key. The Bible teaches us the contrary. Love does not tolerate blatant sin. If someone, particularly a fellow believer, has a consistent sin issue: gossip, pride, anger, sexual immorality of any kind, slander, etc. it is our duty to say something.
My phone background during my 10th grade year read simply, “Love Never Fails.” As a kid who grew up in the church, this reference to 1 Corinthians 13:8 seemed pretty cut and dry. However, as my friend picked up my phone, read my background, and said casually yet confidently, “That’s a lie!” my perspective shifted.
We all have those people in our lives who are difficult to love. You know who I’m talking about - It could be a co-worker, or an in-law, or a so-called friend. Something inside our stubborn hearts bristles at the thought of serving these people. But Jesus asks us to follow His example in loving those who make our lives difficult. God can work through these people to bring about our sanctification and to make us more like the image of His son.
One of my good friends and I decided we were going to change the meaning of New Year’s resolutions for ourselves. We decided to do one thing every day that scares us. We realized that we were letting fear control our life choices - fear of what others think, fear of failure, fear of rejection. Do I take a chance at failing and do this thing in front of me, or do I ignore it and go on with my life? This is much like Jonah’s situation.
Over Christmas break I watched the film The Greatest Showman in theaters. Any fans? P.T. Barnum is an excellent example of someone with a gumption for greatness. I had a film student open my eyes to this theme throughout the film. Hugh Jackman’s character showed initiative, resourcefulness, and sometimes shrewdness to make it possible for his entrepreneurial dreams to come true.