Take the High Ground for a Clear Perspective
By Rick Warren
— April 27, 2017
“Ask God to bless those who persecute you — yes, ask him to bless, not to curse” (Romans 12:14 GNT).
We all have EGRs (people with Extra Grace Required) in our lives. They annoy us, anger us, frustrate us, and test us.
But they also help us grow. God calls us to demonstrate mercy to all people — even those who cause us the most trouble.
In the last few devotionals, I’ve given you five steps for dealing with EGRs in your life:
- Look at their behavior.
- Refuse to be offended.
- Cut them some slack.
- Refuse to gossip about them.
- Refuse to play their game.
Then there’s the sixth and final step: Always take the high ground.
Do what’s right, no matter what the EGRs in your life do. If they insult you, treat them with kindness. If they wear on your nerves or they’re too slow for your pace, treat them with patience. You cannot control what other people think about you. You cannot control what other people say about you. You cannot control what other people do to you. But you do have 100 percent control over how you respond.
The high ground gives you clear perspective. When you take the high ground, you can see past that person’s behavior to their pain. When you take the high ground, you rise above the irritation and the conflict and choose to live in peace. You might be completely within your rights to retaliate, but the Bible says, “Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13b NIV). You might have the perfect comeback, but the Bible says, “Do not repay . . . insult with insult” (1 Peter 3:9a NIV).
The classic chapter on taking the high ground is Romans 12. Verse 14 says this: “Ask God to bless those who persecute you — yes, ask him to bless, not to curse” (GNT). This verse is the definition of mercy. You say, “Rick, I don’t have anybody persecuting me.” Then let’s cross out the word “persecute” and write in the word “irritate.” Ask God to bless the people who irritate you. Instead of asking God to judge them, ask him to bless them. This is what real love looks like. Real love doesn’t just love someone who’s lovable. That’s easy. Real love loves the unlovable. Real love is patient with the irritable people in your life.
God empowers us to love even those we find hard to love.
Talk It Over
- Can you think of an example in your life — or in the life of someone you know — where you (or the person you know) took the high ground in a conflict with an EGR? How did that turn out?
- How have you been inspired by someone else’s love for the unlovable?
- What can you do to take the higher ground with an EGR in your life?
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