Now, of course, there are a hundred and one values that the bible speaks of, and even more values to live by. So, I’ll only be covering the ones I feel most relevant for me, the values that are my pillars of support right now as of this very moment.
Let’s begin the first of this series in 1 Samuel 20. In chapter 20, King Saul has made up his mind to kill David. This was before David became the King of Israel, before the era of victory in his life. In the midsts of David’s desperation and forlorn, he insisted that Jonathan (Saul’s son and David’s best friend) lies to Saul on David’s behalf so that David can run away.
How To Stand Out From The Crowds Today
The intention of our actions is what makes something sinful. Things get messy when there were dealing with some things that are in between, like lying and hiding the truth. Things enter the grey area when the thing you do is seen as wrongful but is done out of righteous intentions.
For instance, beating your child to discipline them.
“Therefore, know in your heart (be fully cognizant) that the LORD your God disciplines and instructs you just as a man disciplines and instructs his son.”
Deuteronomy 8:5 AMP
Another common example is to tell a lie to save someone from getting hurt unnecessarily. Or in Jonathan’s case, to save the life of your best friend, King-to-be David.
A little background to jolt your memory: On the night of the New Moon feast, King Saul had planned to kill David.
Imagine this: Had Jonathan not told the lie to save David’s life and David dies at the hands of King Saul. What then? Most of the Psalms wouldn’t exist. The books from his descendants wouldn’t exist either like Solomon’s books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Solomon.
In the midst of all the chaos and internal conflict, something in Jonathan’s heart urged him to do what he did. To save a friend or to obey his father, Saul. Which is the right thing to do? Which will please God?
What will you do?
The principle of today’s devotional is to live intentionally. That means to live with sincerity in everything we do, in every decision we make.
Most of the time, we don’t live intentionally. Sometimes, it’s not a matter of desire, it’s because of the culture that surrounds us. The culture today shuns people’s honesty and sincerity. We’re judged as being too soft and vulnerable when we show love and concern to others in need. Being hard and stoic is what’s deemed normal.
But what God told us to be is independent of what culture portrays. We’re not built to be stone-cold, rather we’re supposed to be like the rock in the desert what split in two so that water could pour out; we’re meant to be God’s middlemen. Or a better word is to be God’s ‘distributor’.
Love comes in abundance for us to distribute, not just the excess, but also the limited. Sacrificing what is limited to those in greater need is the sign of living with true intentions in God’s eyes, just like the little boy with his two fish and five loaves.
The Root Of Our Intentions
Perhaps, on a deeper level, living intentionally stems from a place of empathy.
To love is to put yourself in someone’s shoes.
You may ask: How can I love if I’m broken? How can I present the perfect image of God if I am, myself, imperfect?
We are all broken jars of clay. The cracks in the broken jars are all the things that have hurt us, broken our hearts, made us angry, made us cry, betrayed us, insulted us, or offended us.
Yet, these cracks are what allows love to flow freely, like water.
Our experiences are what enable us to empathize with people.
We don’t empathize with someone because of a perfect imagination. We empathize with someone because of our imperfect experiences – just like everyone around us whom we are called to love.
Call To Action
How can you live by intentionally with empathy?
For me, I find it helpful to ask yourself this question whenever you pass judgement on something or someone, or when you’re just about to form an opinion on anything.
Are they just having a bad day?
It very powerful to ask this question, because most of the time, when someone treats you the way they do, it’s usually not about you. How they treat you has usually nothing to do with you, or how you look.
The way people treat you is not about how they receive you, it’s about how they’ve been treated. They’re just reflecting their day on you, their emotions on you.
Therefore, as the light of the world, we should empathize with them. Our peace comes from above. There are people who need us to reflect some of that light from above to them.
By empathizing with them, we should treat them the way we would want to be treated when we’re having a bad day.
Remember, anger and rashness cannot change people from the inside out. God didn’t inflict his wrath on us to save us from sin. He loved the sin out of us. Only with kind words can we change people from the inside out, just as how God has done to us.
So love the ugly out in one another.
God bless you and have an awesome week!