How Do You Show God’s Love During Tense Circumstances?

It’s easy to show God’s love during the good times, but how do you show love during tense circumstances? I’m so happy to welcome Cathy McIntosh back to Chaotic Life today!

How do you show Gods love through tense circumstances?

Case #1

Her words stung.

They hurt my feelings and while I’m reluctant to admit this, they also hurt my pride. It was clear that she hadn’t stopped to think before speaking. Days later I learned what a stressful morning she’d had before she let the insult fly in my direction. Still, my flesh desired to feel the offense and dismiss the excuses.

“I deserve better than this,” said the cry of my heart.

Case #2

A friend called to say she needed to step away from a ministry that we’d enjoyed together for years. She declined to explain why. Offense wanted to rear its ugly head and I felt tempted to react with harsh words.

“I deserve better than this,” said the cry of my heart.

Case #3

Upon entering a small meeting, I quickly discerned that my motives and heart were misjudged. This was a group in which I believed trust flourished, yet I sensed suspicion and faced the need to explain my intention. Defensiveness fought to take control of my tongue and I struggled to suppress my emotions.

“I deserve better than this,” said the cry of my heart.

Controlling How we React to Difficult Circumstances

These are examples of difficult, pressing circumstances when we’re sometimes surprised at our own reactions. Every one of us faces situations like these which hastily become defining moments. How we react, what we say, and even what we think can latch onto our memories for years. Such occasions deliver one of two outcomes:  1) short-lived celebration for maintaining self-control, or 2) long-term regret for lashing out and wounding others.

How do you show Gods love through tense circumstances? #quote #love #inspirational

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need more regrets. I have plenty of baggage from the past and don’t wish to bring remorse into my present. So, I strive for personal victories in difficult times. Even small reasons to celebrate the maintenance of self-control mean I’ve taken steps keep my heart pure before God. This helps me walk in step with His Holy Spirit.

What’s more, Christ calls us to love others. We must continually ask ourselves how we can love them well as His ambassador. I’m gradually learning to measure my love in difficult circumstances through a series of questions:

  • Am I making this situation about myself?
  • Do I know the full story?
  • Is this a battle worth fighting?
  • Is my love stemming from emotions or the power of the Holy Spirit?

“It’s Not About Me.”

No one wants to hear these words when emotions run high. In the moment of distress, I don’t want to think about others, I want to think about myself. I’m not concerned with the other person’s feelings but feel great pain in my own. Once the adrenaline settles and calm returns, I can see the bigger picture as one where self is not at the center.

No matter the struggles we face, Christ is our focus. Honoring God is our aim, not honoring self. The words and reactions that surface in our most difficult moments are the portrait by which others see Christ. It’s a profound responsibility we’re given as His ambassadors, one we must solemnly accept. The moment we call ourselves Christians, our words, actions and attitudes become a reflection of Christ to a watching world. How will we represent our Lord and Savior?

We’ll never portray perfection, but we’re to show grace and mercy to the extent they’ve been lavished onto us. When we do, we love others well and shine the light of Christ

Truths that Help Me Love Well

#1 – I don’t know the full story

The person sitting across from me has a thousand things running through their head just like me. I have no idea who or what may have dampened her spirits today. Maybe life heaped ugliness on her this morning. And while it’s no excuse to lash out at me, I strive to remember that her words, in all likelihood, were not intended to cause me harm. Providing her the benefit of the doubt can show love, break down barriers, and establish a first step toward trust.

#2 – I must choose my battles

Is a confrontation necessary in this instance? Do I need to “win” and prove myself “right?” Or can I step back and give the situation some room to breathe? If I look back on this moment a week from now, will I consider it worthy of a fight? Or do I best honor God and love the person in front of me by showing humility? These are valid questions. At times, yes, a firm and heartfelt discussion is warranted right there in the moment. At other times, however, there’s little to gain by butting heads. The moral high road is to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit while continuing to pursue a heart that loves.

#3 – Christ’s love fuels our own

Emotional love is not the same as love in the Spirit. While we may not feel the emotion of love, we can rely on Christ and His strength to act in the most loving manner possible. When we act in obedience to Him, it’s possible that our emotions will follow suit. It’s not hypocritical, rather it’s a necessary first step to love as Christ has called us to. We allow our love for Him to drive our actions. We’re responsible for what we do and the Lord is responsible for the results. As we love Him and trust in His sufficiency, we can love others well.

How do you show Gods love through tense circumstances? #quote #love #wisdom #inspirational

When we slow down and love people on purpose, we can navigate trying times in a way that honors both God and people. Resisting the temptation to react with emotion is our first step toward showing Christ’s love. Walking through this evaluation carries us further down of obedient path and opens the door for our feelings and emotions to follow.

Jesus prayed to the Father, “I made Your name known to them and will make it known so the love You have loved Me with may be in them and I may be in them.”  (John 17: 26) May His will be accomplished. May His love be in us.


About Cathy McIntosh

Cathy McIntosh is the author of Victorious: Finding Triumph when Hope Seems Lost and Finding Joy in the Journey. She serves as the Director of Women’s Ministries of Purpose Church in Firestone, Colorado and blogs at www.strengthenedbytheword.com.  To hear more from Cathy and receive encouragment in your inbox, sign up for her newletter here.

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11 thoughts on “How Do You Show God’s Love During Tense Circumstances?

  1. Kirstie Ganobsik

    This is great – and I do think that honoring self is honoring God, as long as it’s our spiritual self we’re honoring and not our egos! I’m working hard on staying in unconditional love more, and have found that what seems like a short-term success is actually a building block to long-term change for the better.

    Reply

  2. candy

    Give service Jesus spent his whole life giving service.

    Reply

  3. Amaris Beecher

    Love this! Thank you for sharing, Lauren!

    Reply

    1. Lauren C. Moye

      Amaris, thank you so much for leaving your comment! I appreciate it and I am happy that Cathy does as well.

      Reply

  4. Audrey

    This reminds me of the sentiments of a blog post I literally wrote last night. It’s so true. These are the moments it’s hard to love, but it’s also when it matters the most.

    Reply

    1. Cathy McIntosh

      Audrey, I cherish the times when God delivers the same message through different people! It’s confirmation of His Word and interaction with His people. What a warm hug from Him!

      Reply

    2. Lauren C. Moye

      Audrey, thank you so much for leaving your comment! I appreciate it and I am happy that Cathy does as well.

      Reply

  5. Mari Jones

    What a well-timed post, it fits right into my world! I’m learning to think before I speak, only by the power of the Holy Spirit!

    Reply

    1. Cathy McIntosh

      Oh, that’s a lesson I continually have to learn, Mari. You’re right – it’s only by His strength and power that we can succeed in this!

      Reply

    2. Lauren C. Moye

      Mari, thank you so much for leaving your comment! I appreciate it and I am happy that Cathy does as well.

      Reply

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