Paper plates

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

People have different tolerance for paper plates. Some believe it makes life easier. Indeed, you can use it and discard it, after a large group of people comes to eat at your home. I've been the beneficiary of such ease. I've also taken a deep breath and the grocery store when I was contemplating getting a set of paper plates for an ordinary week. I thought about how much better for the environment (and for my wallet) using my plates would be. 

Plates are not the only conveniences we can discard. In the past few years, we discovered masks, hand wipes, and shoe guards that can be used and discarded. 

Often, there isn't any emotional attachment o such items. I believe it is meant to be this way. 

The problem arises when want to discard people in the same way we discard used paper plates. 

When we are discarded, it hurts. The pain caused lingers for years. I know there's healing and counseling. I also know the helpless feeling of asking why someone would discard me as if I was a dirty paper plate.

My upbringing informed who I am. A lot of what I heard and saw on the subject of love can be summarized by these holy words:

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." 1 Cor. 13:4-7

I'm not going to write an article telling you about a single solution for every relationship problem out there. 

We all know human relationships can be complex. What I know for sure is that each day, God gives me a chance to love as He does. 

I know what it is to love unloveable people. I know what it is to ask for and extend forgiveness just to be discarded as a dirty paper plate. 

I know what it is to apply the Romans 12:18 verse "if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" when it is not applied to be. 

I write this with a clean heart filled with forgiveness, love, and prayers for the welfare of others. How so?

Not because I'm a super Christian. It took a while to forgive and to obey God's commandments in Scripture. It wasn't because I'm a professional Christian. It also wasn't because I'm better than anyone else. 

What I did was take a good look at the greatest act of love displayed on behalf of my soul. Jesus' death on the cross is an undeniable act of love. I don't deserve it, yet, He loved me. 

He loved me first, and I love Him too. Jesus said if you love me you will obey my commandments. 

God wants me to be patient and kind toward others. His words, His conduct informs mine. 

Instead of discarding people when they do me wrong, I decided to forgive and pray for their welfare. 

Reconciliation was not possible with a lot of those folks because they had checked out of my life before I could go back and say "please forgive me for..." which I did. It takes two to reconcile. It takes me to live freely through forgiveness. 

When like me, you are tempted to do less than love as God loves, ask yourself:

• Am I displaying the same love and kindness God shows me?

• Am I being envious, arrogant or rude? Am I insisting in my own way?

• Do I want wrongdoing for this person? 

• Am I rejoicing in the truth?

• Because "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things," I should display the same behavior. How close am I to these four things? 

Discarding people like they are dirty paper plates may seem easy in the moment of anger. God's way is different. Let's choose His sublime way.