I remember one particular occasion when my best friend and I were driving down the main highway on the way to Florida. In those days, there were no GPS Navigational systems. We were armed with an old fashioned paper road map of Georgia and Florida. Off we went on our great adventure. For the most part, we followed the map and stayed on the main Interstates and highways. At one particular point in our journey, we both spotted what appeared to be an interesting dirt road. Being the adventurous souls we were, we decided to take the dirt road and see where it led. We calculated that we were a little ahead of schedule, time-wise, so why not? We didn’t see this particular local, small road on the map so we were just curious enough to want to check it out. We drove over holes and ditches and rounded curves sliding from side to side. It was a blast—-until we drove over a ditch that was just a little too deep for our wheels. We hit the ditch and the bottom of the car slammed into the ground and shook the tailpipe lose on the car. Luckily, the car was still driveable. Somehow, we managed to move the car from the ditch and quickly drove back to the main highway, continuing on to Florida without a muffler and sounding like an old Logging Truck. I don’t know how we made it without annoying the police, but somehow we did. We managed to have the muffler and tailpipe repaired while we vacationed in Florida. It would have been much easier had we just stayed on the main highway, but we couldn’t resist the temptation to take the road less traveled. Even though we had a Map showing the correct route and path we should have taken, we couldn’t resist the urge to be adventurous. It was a choice we made and, unfortunately, we made the wrong choice and paid a price.
I think we would all agree that the Bible is our road map for Life. Speaking for myself, I wish I followed the map more often. The other day I was reading a passage in 1st Peter which gives us one of those clear road maps we all need. 1st Peter Chapter 4, verses 7-12 says to be of sound judgment and keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Sometimes, having a fervent love is fairly easy and sometimes it’s extremely difficult, depending upon the person and the situation. Choosing to fervently love others is a choice, just like when we chose the wrong road to travel. Making the wrong choice in how we love others often leads to bad consequences just as our road trip did many years ago.
Here are 4 things that I try to remember to strive for that have helped me over the years when dealing with others, especially those that may mistreat me. You could say that this is my road map for loving others:
- A Sound Mind: We must show patience and love when dealing with others, especially those that mistreat us. We all expect others to rise to our level. We must be willing to meet others where they are and that takes patience.
- A Submissive Prayer Life: We must have a personal prayer life and also pray for others, submitting our Will to God’s Will. If we’re honest, we’re all selfish looking out for ourselves. It’s amazing how much stronger your prayer life becomes when you pray for others needs instead of just your own.
- A Selfless Love: We should all have a passion for helping others based on our gifts, abilities, and resources. Again, selfishness comes into play here. Don’t be afraid to get involved with others and help them meet their needs. You’ll be blessed and others will too.
- A Spoken Witness: We must allow Jesus to speak through us and work through our lives. It doesn’t do any good for God to speak to us if we don’t act. Have courage to be the witness and example to others that you know you should.
We’re all faced with roads to travel and forks in the road to take, especially when dealing with others. Make sure you follow God’s Map and take the right course so that your love for others will be strong.
“Lord, thank you for reminding me today of the importance of following your direction. Thank you for reminding me to be of Sound Mind; have a Submissive prayer life; have a Selfless love for others; and a Spoken Witness for You.”