Taking on a new attitude can be intimidating.

Forgive me for the language lesson but I found it helpful and interesting as I pondered my reason for the title.

The definition of intimidating according to http://www.dictionary.com is “to make timid; fill with fear”.

The Bible is full of Scripture that defines the attitudes Christians should have. This exert is from Philippians Chapter 5 (NKJV):” The Humbled and Exalted Christ. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

The definition of attitude according to http://www.dictionary.com is “manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, especially of the mind“.

Luke 3:14 states “‘Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”’

I know I tend to judge people by what I see. It is easy to spot a phony (of any kind) when your guard is up. But let your guard down and boy, you are in for a world of hurt. People send emails knowing the person they are talking about won’t see it. Text messages complaining about a family member or another person they have in common go screaming through today’s media sources. We watch the news and see examples of this every day. It doesn’t matter if it is the famous or the unknowns, attitudes abound everywhere with everyone. So what is the solution? Do we even need one?

Scripture says we do need a solution and it provides the answer in many verses. I Corinthians 13:4-8 reads: “4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” Part of Jesus’ mission was to show love to everyone, especially those who didn’t deserve it. So why would we think it is OK to not show everyone love? And what does that even look like?

We can agree we need a solution. But what is it? What do we do to fix the problem of bad attitudes? How do you love someone who just doesn’t deserve your love back? Here is where it gets rather sticky or intimidating. It isn’t that we cannot love each other or don’t want to. The problem is in our hearts not our heads. Remember, the word intimidating means fear and it injects itself into the situation. The heart feels the fear, the mind just processes it. So now the solution is blocked by fear. But where does this fear come from?

Galations 5:22-23 explains the fruit of the spirit. The first fruit he speaks of is love. “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.” The word fear does not appear in this chapter so why do we fear showing love?

Part of the reason, for some people, is they have not read and studied Scripture enough to know what God’s definition of love is. They don’t have any meaningful personal relationships or a relationship with Jesus Christ and therefore don’t know how love is intended to work. You have to learn how to love some people, especially if they don’t know how to love you back. And if they have never experienced love, then they really don’t know how to act or what it looks like. Everyone is afraid to open their hearts to love because of fear. Unfortunately one cannot exist without the other. No one wants to show how vulnerable they are so they avoid loving anyone. There are tons of examples and how-to’s written in Scripture and I doubt I could do them justice here, so I won’t try.

So, it is fear I have to overcome. Fear of loving someone sounds so strange and foreign to me. As I watch the news everyday, I see where people were brave enough to love someone and they turned out to be con artists or murderers. Well, that didn’t help the fear factor at all. Now I’m back to feeling intimidated. Just kidding. So now what?

Lets look at the definition of faith according to http://www.dictionary.com, “strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence”. It surprised me that it says “strong or unshakable”. By definition the word faith affirms that we cannot be plucked from our Father’s hand. This is reinforced with John 10:27-30, as it also affirms several other truths, it declares that our faith is set in stone. “27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.” I was missing something simple, fundamental, basic yet vitally important. I was overlooking faith. That unseen force but ever so present feeling that draws us to the Father and keeps us in His hands. I had been looking for something harder to harness, impossible to find and something this world does not naturally have or do. In developing an attitude of love, I have to show love to the unlovable and have faith that God, the master orchestrator, will work out all of the details. I know He will.