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James 1:19-25 (NIV)
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Have you ever asked: “Do I really have to forgive that person?” Or: Am I really supposed to be kind to them?” The fact that we are even asking those questions proves that we need to, as James the brother of Jesus says, “accept the word planted in [us] which can save [us]”. When we ask “do I really have to” questions we are like children asking their parents “do I really have to eat green beans?” We have lost faith that God really does know what is best for us or that we can trust that following His will is good. This attitude also means we have stopped accepting our own need for God’s forgiveness, kindness, and mercy. In your prayer time, think about at least 2 or 3 people that are making your life difficult and make it hard for you to live the way you know God desires of His children. Ask God to first forgive you and help you accept your own need for his salvation and love, and then ask for help in loving those people who need to know God’s love and grace, too.