Be merciful to those who doubt…(Jud 22).
Has anyone ever used fear against you in an attempt to get you to change? Yeah, that’s definitely happened to me. Whenever someone uses fear as a tactic to get us to change we will never respond to that person out of love, but will always respond out of a sense of obligation or duty. Duty in the sense that if we don’t do what they say that we will live with the grave consequences of their condemnation against us. Sadly, this never produces real heart change within us, because fear is the driving factor for our motivation to change.
Love is what changes people. Love and kindness, mixed with grace, truth and mercy are what compels us towards a new heart and mind. God is immensely patient with us. It is His lovingkindness that leads us towards repentance. Should we fear a life without God? We should, but that’s not how God motivates us to change. You see, written all throughout the Scripture is His love letter to us and His patience in drawing mankind to Himself. God is not some overbearing judge who wishes to only squash us at every turn. He is a kind, patient and loving Father who draws us in with His kindness.
For many years I lived in an environment where I was pushed by fear to change. Therefore, I walked on eggshells, and tried my best to change my behavior for this person, yet the whole time lived with the weight and anxiety of their expectations of me. There was no freedom in that place. It was bondage. Bondage because love was not the motivator. Control and fear were and those two mixed together only lock people up in prisons of condemnation.
Therefore, we must be keenly aware of how we operate when we motivate others. Are our hearts burning with love? Do we give others grace and a second chance or are we quick to keep them locked up in prisons of fear trying to push them to change?
My prayer is that love would be my banner. Yes, a heart that loves is one that can call people towards a different life, but it doesn’t force them into it when they’re not ready. As the shepherd of our souls, Jesus, leads us in His kindness towards new life, so shall we usher people into the grace of God as we seek to love, honor and cherish those to whom He has given us, in Jesus name.
Abba, I want to motivate others not with fear, guilt or condemnation, but instead with grace, love and truth. Forgive me if I ever start allowing my sinful heart to press fear upon others. Jesus, I want to live differently. Help me to be a conduit of your grace to others, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.