At church the sermons have been working their way through 1 John - so I've had a childhood song stuck in my head for the past couple of months. The song is 1 John 4:7-8 put to music.
"Beloved, Let us love one another. For love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth Him. He that loveth not, loveth not God for God is love."
I don't know about you, but I am REALLY GOOD at loving people, until I actually have to, you know, interact with them. And then, well, all of the oh-so-human parts of me come out. The part that thinks I know better ways to do things, the part that fails to assume the positive about other people and instead would prefer to assume that they are trying to drive me crazy, the part that really does enjoy the ranting and gossip.
Because, most recently, my lack of love for people I find "difficult" to love comes out in either an internal attitude that I feed with self-righteous talk or in ranting to other people there are a couple of ways that I am attempting to become a person who shows God's love.
1. Being quiet. When I want to rant (gossip) - - - I just try to hold my tongue. I've always advocated the benefit of having someone to rant to. . . but, really, a journal entry that only I see works just as well to let out some of the frustration. If it's a situation where I need advice - I can then more clearly see the situation to explain it to someone and present "just the facts" and try to get real help instead of ranting and expecting only validation to my outrage.
2. Meditating on scripture. If I've got scripture running through my head all day that I'm trying to focus on and learn from and apply to my life - -well, I have less time to fuel my own self-righteous inner talk. And, well, there are quite a few other benefits of meditating on scripture as well.
So that's kind of where I'm at right now with my spiritual life - - learning to be still again and to hear that still small voice and not my own. And if it means that for now my scripture meditation is children's tunes from decades ago ..well, so be it, between the sing-along tapes my parents had for us and all the songs we learned at church - there are quite a few floating around in my head. :)