Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cupid’s Arrow

 (submitted by Kerry Patton)
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”    Ephesians 4:31-32
Love at First Sight…
I recall my first sight of my wife Laura.  Ours was a blind date set up by a mutual friend, and when I first laid eyes on her, I was dumb-struck.  She was very beautiful and her eyes seemed to light up as she smiled and spoke.  Was it love at first sight?  Well, no…love takes time to grow; but she certainly had my attention!  That first lunch date that we shared seemed to absolutely blow by.  I found this woman to be very fascinating.  She was very interesting to converse with and we shared many common interests…and a common relationship with Christ Jesus.  When our blind date was over, I knew that I wanted to see this girl again…and maybe again, and again!
Over the next several weeks, I wanted to know everything about her.  And I wanted her to think that I was very charming and interesting in my own rite.  So, we saw movies, we had lunch and dinners together.  We talked about what we like and dislike.  Effectively, we pursued the relationship we were sharing.  We were…and here is sort of the thesis statement for this series: …we were NICE to each other.
Being nice.  That really is where it all starts, isn’t it?  Cupid’s Arrow isn’t some mystical irresistible force that we are hit with…Relationships are built upon kindness.  Just being nice.  I believe I could draw lines of origin to a great number of problems that exist in this world that trace back to people who simply stopped being nice to each other.  Nice, and all of its components: respect, patience, consideration, compassion, selflessness…and no doubt others; Nice is the foundation upon which so much of interpersonal interaction is to be based.  If relationships are not based upon a foundation of nice, what then will help them endure?
In yesterday’s devotion, I encouraged husbands and wives to be nice to each other.  If you want a better relationship with you mate…start by being nice to him or her.  If you want a better relationship with your children…be nice to them.  That relationship will earn you great mileage and help when they become teenagers…  And, I suggested, it also teaches them how to treat others.  Consider if you will, what we teach them by not being nice to one another, or them… Right?  I’ve heard my mother teach others saying: “Be nice to your children…for someday they will choose your nursing home.”  Sound advice.
But today, I really want us to spend a little time meditating on what it means to just be nice to our mate.  When relationships are wearing thin, can we rediscover ‘Cupid’s Arrow’ again?  Life and living together gives us plenty of ammo and reason to decide to NOT be nice.  That is true, but where does it lead us?  What do we benefit by being rude, intolerant, impatient, snappy, inconsiderate…and even mean to our loved ones?  Those seeds, planted in our relationships most certainly do bring forth great harvest, but none of us would want to eat the bread made from it.  Bitterness, and emotional death.  Hate and violence.  Divorce.
All too often, we sow the seeds of bitterness into the soil of our marriage because that is all we know how to sow…and then wonder why we are so unhappy!  Why won’t my wife just be nice??  Why won’t my husband just be nice?? 
Take this to the bank:
·      No man ever won the heart of a woman with harsh words! 
·      No woman ever won the heart of a man with a critical spirit!
So if your relationship is hitting some rough roads, start finding your way back to better paths by simply being nice to him or her.  Not simply for and afternoon, or a week…but for a lifetime. Be NICE...even if you are in disagreement.  I can share my perspective and feelings without going on the war-path in full scale verbal assault.  Proverbs 15:1 reads: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  A new favorite on my list of wise counsel comes from our pastor in a recent sermon: “The louder I speak, the dumber I get.”  Folks, I have found that to be so very true.  A calm heart, a calm and carefully chosen word…much more effective than harsh words spoken in wrath.  So, join me in this quest… Three simple words to live by: “Just Be Nice.”


Almighty God, in the Book of James, we learned that the tongue is like the rudder of a great ship; a small spark that sets a great forest on fire.  Help me Father, set a guard about my mouth.  And teach me gentleness of speech, teach me kindness.  Let my words, actions, and attitudes bring life to my relationships, and blessing to those who hear.  Help me, Father, to be nice.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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