We have the choice to respond in love instead of in rudeness.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God
(Ephesians 5:1-2, RSV).
Amy Carmichael once said that a cup of sweet water cannot spill out bitterness, no matter how rudely it is overturned. Like many of her sayings, I find this truth to be terribly challenging. Most of the time, if my cup gets spilled by accident—if I’m interrupted by an innocent person or otherwise affected by an innocent mistake—my water can be pretty sweet.
But what about those other situations, the not-so-innocent ones? What about the person who knocks me down on purpose? Or perhaps worse, what about the person who has no regard for my cup whatsoever and just plows right over it, breaking it into pieces? It’s in those situations Carmichael’s claim becomes most difficult. I’m sorry to say that many times I believe my cup to hold sweet water only to find, after it is rudely overturned, that it’s full of hurt, anger or pride.
It’s easy to think, when our cup spews out bitterness, that we’re justified because the other person deserves it. We’re under duress. They’ve pushed us to the point of hurt or anger, and we have no option but to respond as such. But, the truth is that we do have another option. We can choose to respond in love. Responding to rudeness with love is not easy, and it is not something we can do in our own strength. But the offer comes to us to “be filled with the Spirit.” (See Ephesians 5:18.)
The Lord, who understands our nature, offers to empty us of our bitterness and fill us up with His love. It is when our cup is filled with Jesus that we’ll spill out His love on others, no matter what.
FAITH STEP:Ask Jesus to fill ’er up! Let Him pour Himself into you today, that you may pour out His goodness to others.
Written by Gwen Ford Faulkenberry