Love Beautifies

this-old-house.jpgThere’s a vacant house for sale at the bottom of the hill in our subdivision. It doesn’t look as forlorn as this abandoned house in the photo, but every month that goes by without somebody to care for it, it deteriorates just a little bit more. The house has been on the market for over a year. Sometimes when I drive by, I think about what I would do to spruce up the place. Pull out the ugly shrubbery here, plant something there, new windows, new siding, some paint…and voila! A pretty home.

My husband and I toured the house recently, and I thought how sad a house is without a family inside to love it. The family photos, the little wall hangings, the cleaning and the polishing all serve to make a home a bright and cheerful place to be. But when all the furniture is gone, and all the little bits and pieces of a family’s life are taken out, all the faults that were once hidden become obvious.

Love covers a multitude of sins and imperfections within a family. My husband’s patience in overlooking annoyances and imperfections creates the foundation for our happy home. Whenever I am tempted to be cross, I find myself remembering his patience and forbearance. My complaint has a way of disappearing rather quickly. I want to remember that more with my children. It is easy to see their faults and to react to them in an unloving way. Forgiveness and patience don’t come naturally to the human heart, especially mine. But I know that the Lord can give those things to us if we ask Him. We can pick our relationships bare, and keep an unloving attitude, but our families and our lives will resemble the empty house at the end of our street, or even the one in the photo.

Each act of forgiveness, each demonstration of unconditional love serves to beautify and to make lovely what is unlovely, because we are showing Christ forth in our homes. It’s something to think about.

9 thoughts on “Love Beautifies

  1. Libby Guidry says:

    Oh Ingrid!

    How I needed to hear this! I, too, struggle with the sin of impatience and the unrighteous fruit it brings. My little two and a half year old daughter has often been the object of my wrath. I shudder to even say that, but it is true. Although I recognize and acknowledge that my sinful response to her is SIN and that I cannot blame anyone for that, I would like to add that I grew up in a violent home where my dad blew up at the slightest of things. His father was an exceptionally angry man who beat my uncle with a rolling pin til the walls were red with his blood. I witnessed my father deal violently with both my mom and my brother and later with my sister and I as we got older. My mom, too, was not without fault. She responded to us many times out of frustration. From them I learned poor conflict resolution and how to be an angry person. I do realize now that they were not believers and I forgive them for their sinful examples. As a believer, I know that I have the very Spirit of God dwelling within me. However, I find, much to my horror and dismay, that I am responding in the same sinful way that my parents did. I am diligently seeking God in his word regarding anger, outbursts of wrath, pride, patience and begging Him to deliver me from this. I do not want my daughter to be hurt nor learn to be angry herself.

    All this to humbly ask for your prayers. You just have no idea the anguish this causes me and surely for those who are on the receiving end of my wrath. Thank you!!!!!

    In Him,
    Libby

  2. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Libby,
    You’re on my prayer list today. I know how children can bring out both the best and the worst in us. I have 5 and each one is very different. I had to repent recently after one of my young adult sons visited recently. He said some wounding things and before I realized it, I was in full defensive mode. Within an hour of him storming out, I was on the phone asking forgiveness for my reaction to his button pushing, and he was pushing buttons, but getting into flesh mode does nothing but tear down what we’re trying to build. Staying out of flesh mode is the calculus of our Christian walk, particularly when we’ve seen the wrong responses modeled over and over when young. The Lord bless you and your daughter. He WILL help you because He has promised in His Word. Trust Him each hour and run to Him quickly when you fail.

    Your friend,
    Ingrid

  3. Debra says:

    Libby,

    Have you forgiven yourself? Not meant to be funny. It is a serious thing to really think about.
    God tells us that if we don’t forgive He won’t forgive.
    That includes forgiving yourself.
    I ask for God to help you in your giving.
    That is giving Grace and Mercy to those around you.
    And may the Lord pour out His Grace and Mercy over you.
    God Bless you Libby. Thank you for being so honest. God hears your heart.
    Thank you Ingrid for the post. It was beautiful.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Ingrid, thank you for a beautiful post with an important message.

    Libby, I’ll be praying for you today. God will keep you in his care.

  5. Carol says:

    Sorry to hear about your troubled upbringing Libby. It reminds us that even though we are Children of God, we are still in fleshly bodies and are capable of making wrong decisions and reacting to situations rather than waiting and acting upon things. I know that I myself have shortcomings and ask God for forgiveness, but also in the strength to overcome those things.

    We must never become so highminded of ourselves to think that since we’re saved, we have “arrived” and are supersaints who no longer sin. Some may have adopted that thinking, but I think, as Paul said, “wretch that I am” when he found himself doing things he knew he shouldn’t be doing, and the things he should be doing, he was not. Only God can help us, but we must be humbled enough to realize that we are susceptible to wrong choices.

  6. marilyn says:

    Our pastor talked about the persecuted church with vivid examples and how not once in the Bible does it talk of the “American” way of advocating for “rights”. He also said we really don’t “suffer” the way others do in the rest of the world. Tonight when troubles just kept happening, his sermon and the message it brought was strength for me to be much more patient then usual. Perspective is everything and when we can think of ourselves in light of eternity and compared to our Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer in torturous ways, it truly brings strength to not sin and instead be selfless instead of self centered.

    You reminded me once again. Thanks.

  7. ann says:

    Funny I was looking at a house such as the one in the picture above on the way to church Sunday, and thinking a lot of people are like abandoned homes. They truly do need the light of Christ in their lives. And maybe a kind word or action, or smiling face, is the first time they will “meet” Christ through believers here and now.

    But “Follow thou me” is not always as easy as it sounds. It is peculiar how those closest and dearest to us can be our biggest trials…so we all fail from time to time. We know we have the Holy Spirit when we become sorrowfully downcast for our sinful thoughts, words and actions. But I am convinced that these trials work to purify us, and hopefully we won’t fall into the same “sin traps” again…like Ingrid said, the only way really is to run to Christ in prayer to avoid the enemy and his snares.

    Peace in Christ,

    Ann

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