Christmas time is full of traditions! And I’ve got to tell you, I’m a traditionalist to the max when it comes to Christmas. I want to watch all the same Christmas movies, listen to a MODERATE amount of Christmas music, I want to eat Christmas foods, drink coffee that is Christmasy so on and so forth. Now at the Lane house, one of the traditional Christmas movies is “The Grinch”.
If you’ve not seen the movie, the Grinch is all about a ‘who’ who hates Christmas, and while there are many underlying factors as to why he feels the way he does, the end result is the same thing, a grumpy, unhappy individual who makes the lives of those around him miserable, and mostly just his poor dog max.
While the Grinch from Whoville may be a fictitious character, I think we all have experiences where we’ve encountered a real life Grinch. Someone who has no happiness in their heart and they seem to be angry with the whole world. I know plenty of people like that, and you probably do too!
What about us, have there ever been times when maybe you were the grinch? I know I have. There have been plenty of times where I’ve let the grinch inside of me get the best of me and I have failed to act Christlike, if we’re being honest.
Let’s jump into the Bible and see what God’s word has to say about kindness and how we can manage “The Grinch inside of us”
1 John 4:7-11
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
There is a lot to unpack from this passage but perhaps the most challenging part is verse 8 which says, “anyone who does not love does not know God”. I don’t know about you but I do not want to go through this life without knowing God.
Loving others can be difficult to master, but it’s something that God wants us to work hard at doing. And if we’re honest, it's something that we all struggle with from time to time. Maybe for you that looks like selfishness, or a lack of generosity or patience. Whatever it looks like, the root cause is a lack of love.
When we do this on our own ability, we’re prone to fall short. The best way to fight against our flesh, which in this case we’re calling the grinch inside of us, is to allow the Holy Spirit to work on us and help us along the way.
I can remember a time back in school when I was faced with the challenge of showing God’s love to someone I, if I’m being honest, just simply didn’t want to. I didn’t like this individual and I let my pastor know about it. I don’t know why but I was expecting my pastor to just kind of listen to me vent, then agree with my assessment of this individual and move on. But instead he did something way better. He listed to me vent then challenged me to be Christ-like, imagine that from a pastor. So I did, I made a strong effort to show this person the love of Christ, and I wish I could tell you that we hit it off and became best friends and we talk everyday on the phone, or maybe I don’t wish that. But I can say that we’re not enemies and God used this person in my life to show me how to be more like Jesus.
I’m sure there are people in your life who won’t be there forever, but who are there for a reason. Take my advice, from my pastor and show God’s love at every chance you get!
It is our responsibility as Christians to lean into God’s love and pursue a loving attitude towards others.
So how do we measure this in our lives? It can sometimes be hard to assess how we’re doing when it comes to loving others. Fortunately we have the Bible to guide us on our journey.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says,
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Take a self assessment and ask yourself, “Does my life look like this?” And if not ask God it work with you and help you be more like Jesus. I know 2020-21 has been a hard couple of years. People are less patient, less loving, and more irritable than ever before. But God is still the same God and He loves us right where we are.
Lastly, let me challenge you. If you see the grinch inside of you, remember that it was the love that other people showed him that changed his heart. You might be the catalyst that changes someone else’s heart and points them towards the love of Jesus!
1. Have you ever experienced a Grinch before? Have you been a Grinch before? Share both instances!
2. What are some things that cause you to struggle with showing kindness and love?
3. How do we learn to love from God?
4. What's one thing you can do this week to fight the Grinch in me?