assuming that motives matter

It is possible to have the right behaviour and still be an absolute mess!  It seems to me that when we live without congruence between motives and behaviour we will ultimately be served a gut check that forces us to examine our motives and adjust.  One of the dangers we face in relationships is the temptation of playing god by assuming we know exactly why a person is doing what they do.  We misplay and fall into the trap of judging when we sort out the “why” of another person’s behaviours based on ourselves rather than on their self-reporting.

A culture of trust assumes the best until proven otherwise.  And a culture of distrust assumes the worst until proven otherwise.  The fellowship of Jesus has another way of sorting behaviour through the lens of Scripture and of the motivating power of the Holy Spirit.  Paul indicates that he can celebrate the brothers and sisters in Thessaloniki through the lenses of thankfulness and of “faith, hope, and love.”

“We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

So assuming that motives matter… when we confess that “Jesus is Lord” behaviour is to be increasingly shaped by Jesus and by the faith, hope and love He produces in our lives.  My view of others will move up when I am first thankful–they are a gift from Jesus.  Hopeful–Jesus is working them.  Loving–I can accept them as Jesus accepted me.  Faithful–let’s stick it out together.

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