In today’s scripture, these words about love are familiar to most of us, but I can honestly say that living them has not always been easy for me. As a child, I was not exposed to this kind of love–in fact, I was taught to be suspicious of everyone. I was told that the motives of other people were not to be trusted.
While it is wise to be aware of people’s motives, we must be careful that we don’t allow our suspicious nature to negatively affect our feelings about everyone. An overly suspicious nature can poison your mind and affect your ability to love and accept other people. Consider this example.
Suppose a friend approaches you after a church service, and says, “Do you know what Doris thinks about you?” Then the friend tells you every detail of the things Doris said. The first problem is that a true friend wouldn’t share such information. And the second problem is that with an already suspicious mind, you now believe secondhand information.
Suppose that one day in church, Doris is sitting just a few rows in front of you, praising the Lord. Immediately you think, “She’s such a hypocrite.”
Then the Holy Spirit directs your thoughts to your own condition, and the fact that you were praising the Lord while harboring bad feelings toward Doris. Didn’t Jesus tell us to make peace with others before we present our gifts to Him? (See Matthew 5:24.)
Convicted by these words of Jesus, you apologize to Doris for the bad feelings you have toward her…and she stares at you in absolute shock. Then you realize your mistake. You misinterpreted the information your friend shared with you about Doris, allowing the devil to turn you against a wonderful, godly woman.
This is a good example of how suspicion can cripple relationships and destroy our joy while it leads us astray.
It took me a while to overcome a lifetime of suspicions, but I finally learned that when we love God’s way, we have no place for suspicions of others.
Pray: Lord, I thank You for showing me how to overcome my suspicious nature by teaching me how to love others with Your kind of love. Thank You, Jesus, for being patient with me and for being my great example. Amen.
From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2005 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8