22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
My grandmom Evelyn was one of the sweetest people I have ever known. I lived with her for many years, and I cannot think of one day she didn't make me smile. She loved me, and she tried her best to show me her love whenever I saw her. She offered to make me meals. She let me stay in her home rent-free (man, those were some good days). She wasn't a wealthy woman by some people's standards, but I knew whatever she had could be mine if I needed it.
Have you ever had a person in your life that was just a sweet person? It could be someone who is always smiling and had a cheerful attitude. They always say please and thank you. They offer to get you a cup of coffee if they are going to get a cup. They bring you a birthday card every year, whether you give them one or not.
No matter whom that person was or how you got to know them, one thing is for sure. We all wanted to be close to that person. We all wanted to find a way to show love to that person, because they were so loving to us. Do you believe if someone was thinking about a sweet person, they would be thinking about you?
The Spirit brings with Him the behaviors we need to make us "sweet" with spiritual fruit. Love, joy, patience, kindness, and self-control are the things that enhance us so we can have effective, long lasting relationships. It's hard to get along with someone who is apathetic, miserable, hot-tempered and mean.
Proverbs says, if you want a friend, show yourself friendly. If we are going to have the relationships we want, we must become what we want to have. If we desire love, we must bring to the relationship a loving heart. If we want peace, we must bring a peaceful disposition.
Now, I'm not saying we should let people take advantage of us. There are some big users out there that will take from you and give nothing in return. But if we want closeness in our relationships, we have to make sure we are giving instead of always having our hands out.
I remember how my relationship with my husband changed when I changed. Our conversations were strained and our time together was burdensome. I wanted him to be tender and kind to me. I wanted to be able to talk to him openly and honestly. And I heard the Spirit of the Lord say so clearly, "Be what you want to see."
I couldn't believe that God would actually tell me that I was the one who needed to change. It was obvious to me that I was in the right. I would stay up to talk, and smile when he came in the door. But in order to reap the fruit, I had to sow that same fruit into my relationship.
Now, the real work begins. The fact is, we do not have control over what others will do. But we can forgive others who have hurt us before. We can have self-control over our attitudes and feelings. And most importantly, we can accept people for who they are, not who we want them to be.