Summary: A message that challenges us to Love People as Christ has loved us, with His heart, with forgiveness.

Loving People With God’s Heart

Pastor Glenn Newton Feb. 9, 2003

COL 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

This past Christmas, the girls decided they wanted to use some of their Christmas money from Grandma and Grandpa to buy them pets, Guinea Pigs to be exact. You can imagine their excitement as we went to the pet store in Ft. Smith, and we went in and guess how many Baby Guinea pigs they had left, two. The girls were so excited, they named their guinea pigs on the way home, one was named Jenny, the other is named Doris.

On the way home they couldn’t believe they had their very own pet to love and take care of. That first day, they hardly ever made it to their cages, they were carried all over, they were shown to all their friends, if they could have, they would have let them sleep with them that night. So what if they whimpered some, so what if they kicked their bedding onto the floor, so what if they smelled like a small dog, they were so cute.

Nola and I had made it clear in the prenuptial agreement that they were to be the caretakers, and of coarse the girls said no problem Dad. And sure enough, everyday, filling their bowl, filling their water, they were more than happy to fulfill their service of love.

After a couple of weeks, I could see the feelings begin to change just a little bit. Jenny and Doris were still their cute little friends, but the girls were beginning to grow weary of the daily cleanup, the weekly cleaning of the cage, they sure seemed to eat all the time. Now it was taking a reminder from Mom and Dad to remember to take care of your Guinea Pigs. We would say, “Take care of Jenney, Take care of Doris, remember they are your pets.”

After two months I don’t think they like hearing those words, “your pets”, I think they would prefer, “those are your pets to play with” or “those are your guinnea pigs when you feel like it.” But those aren’t the words we are using. We say, those are your pets. Period. In sickness and in health. For richer, for poorer. In dryness and in wetness.

I believe it has now occurred to our girls, They are stuck with Jenny and Doris. The courtship is over, the honeymoon has ended. They are mutually stuck together, the little pigs have moved from an option to play with, to an obligation to take care of.

Maybe you can relate. Chances are you understand the claustrophobia that comes with commitment. Only instead of being reminded, “She is your guinea pig,” your told, “He is your husband.” Or , “She is your wife.” Or , “he is your child, parent, employee, or boss.” Or any other relationship that requires loyalty for survival.

Such permanence in a relationship can lead to panic....... I remember that feeling with my first dog when I was a kid. You have to answer the tough questions.... Can I tolerate the same flat-nosed, hairy, hungry face every morning? (You wives know the feeling?)

Am I going to be barked at until the day I die? (Any teens here this morning?) Will she ever clean up her own mess? (Did I hear an “amen” from some parents?)

There is a word for such a problem, this problem when we feel stuck with someone..... Has anyone heard of this condition?

This condition is a common problem known as STUCKITITIS. (Stuck meaning trapped. Ititis being the six letters you tag on to any word you want to sound impressive.)

Let me read you some symptoms of Stuckititis:

Attacks of stuckititis are limited to people who breathe and typically occur somewhere between birth and death. Stuckititis manifests itself in irritability, short fuses, and a mountain range of molehills. The common symptom of stuckititis victims is the repetition of questions beginning with who, what, and why. Who is this person? What was I thinking? Why didn’t I listen to my mother?

There are three ways to deal with this common problem, three ways to cope with Stuckititis: Flee, Fight, or Forgive.

Some opt to flee, to get out of the relationship and start again somewhere else, though they are often surprised when the condition surfaces on the other side of the fence as well.

Others Fight. Houses become combat zones, and offices become boxing rings, and tension becomes a way of life. A few, however discover another treatment: Forgiveness.

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