Sunday, February 10, 2013

Did You Love Them?



We’ve all been there; someone has…

*Made an unkind or offensive remark*

*Betrayed our trust in them*

*Ruined and shattered our dreams*

*Left us behind for another*

*Inflicted physical or mental pain and abuse*

*Destroyed our confidence and self-esteem*

…and we are tempted to recoil, shut down, hold a grudge, and put up an invisible wall.

…But Jesus said, love them anyway…

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28)

Ouch…how can we possibly develop loving kindness for people who have violated or hurt us? It’s a challenge to love people who have ignored, betrayed, hurt, or violated us. Many of us would rather go to a place where we can feel safe and our wounds can heal; it’s much easier to put a wall around ourselves so that we won’t be hurt anymore. And for some of us, our natural response is to strike back; we want to even the score. And if we can’t strike back immediately, we certainly don’t let it go; we save an “I’ll get back at you card” in our pocket to be pulled out at a later date.

…But Jesus commands us to love them anyway…
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

God knows our weaknesses, and to love like Jesus we need to understand a simple truth; we may find it hard to have the power or the strength to live up to this obligation, but He has the power to do that; to love those who have hurt Him and His children. It’s His will for us too, and we must simply be willing to do it. The power is within us, we just have to make the choice on whether to seek revenge on those that hurt us or be willing to forgive and show love. Unconditional love is a new decision we need to make in every situation; and He has promised to give us the power we need when we do not have the strength to offer love. The promise is written in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God does not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and self-discipline.” We have been told to love; it’s not an option. And we have been given the ability to love with agape love; there is no other alternative. We are not only called to love, we are commanded to love.

… Jesus will ask, “Did you love them?…
“And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us.” (1 John 3:23)

Agape love is the reason we are able to love those who have hurt us; the spirit flows through us producing God’s love in us, so that we can pass it on to others whether they love us back or not. It’s a love that acts in an unselfish manner even when we don’t feel like giving it; we chose to consider the needs of others ahead of our own needs without demanding anything in return. We should love one another because it’s a reflection of who we are in Christ, indwelt by the spirit of God who is full of grace, truth, and love. Agape love is what the whole world needs; we were born with a craving for love and nurture, and we are commanded to pass it on. As we humble ourselves before the Lord and receive His love, we will find the freedom to look beyond our own hurts and love those around us. And when we demonstrate love and forgiveness to others, God unfolds His great love for us.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God, and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7)

 Linking up this week with...

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38 comments:

  1. Do everything in love. That is one thing I always try to remember. If we really consider what Jesus did for us despite persecution and death on a cross, we'd be overflowing in love and gratitude.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

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    1. Oh how I try and remember that same thing Debbie; it is a wonderful feeling (and accomplishment!) when we turn the other cheek! :)

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  2. I've been doing my own little series about God's love as we approach Valentine's day and I am believe the only way we can love our enemies is by God's love working in us and overflowing in our hearts and out on to our enemies. Our human nature wants to fight, but God's nature will teach us to love :) God is Love! Amen :)

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    1. Love what you said here; thank you for visiting! Will have to come over to your place and read all about it! :)

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  3. Denise, this is hard for me. I will. But at the same time I want to protect myself and have no contact with one person (No deep contact) That is unloving. Or not? How to deal with unpredictable ( is it a good englisch word for it ? ) people around you. I think I'll blogging about it in the future :-)

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    1. "Unpredictable" is the perfect word Jedidja! :) Yes, it it hard to love those whose behavior changes, we find ourselves wanting to run the other way! Blessings and lots of prayer in your engagement with this individual my friend... :)

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  4. Our sermon this morning was on love; God's amazing love for His children....When dealing with others, it's essential to ask for His power to love others as He would but He is so wiling to give us what we need in every situation....What a mighty God we serve.....

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    1. We had a similar service last week; it's a topic I need to hear time and again as a reminder to let His love pour out of me in every situation! Blessings Nancy!

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  5. Hi Denise, its so hard to love those who hurt you but it is in doing so that you allow God to work in you and in them. Great reminder, huge ouch :)
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. A challenge for sure Tracy, but in the end we are undefeated and left with a heart of love and grace! Blessings sweet friend!

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    2. Hi Denise, you bless me greatly, thanks for linking up too, hugs and kisses
      Tracy

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  6. Denise, Such a beautiful post full of wisdom. Thank you for sharing this great reminder! And thank you so much for visiting me today for my Blue Monday Memory Lane Quilts. I wished I lived closer to you I would teach you to make a quilt! Your so creative this would be a great medium for you. I truly love it. And, I miss that part of ministry so much. It was a fun post to write. Thanks again for visiting and leaving a comment.
    You Bless.
    Have a wonderful week,
    Sherry

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    1. Would love to learn someday! Wishing you a wonderful week too Sherry!

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  7. Denise, each day my heart is learning more and more about love and what it is not as well. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post. Blessings.

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    1. Blessings and love to you Grace; hope you have a week full of joy!

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  8. Hi Denise,
    I must admit, that scripture and command from Jesus always brings conviction! I once turned down a women's ministry in a church, because I could not let some hurt go!
    So I understand why Jesus requires us to give these things to him so that we do not find ourselves spiritually blocked in service where He wants us to be...
    (love covers a multitude of sin)
    ~Blessings, and love~ Lisa

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    1. Oh yes Lisa, it does take strength and His love in our hearts to go to a place He wants us to be when we feel unwanted or unappreciated; hard to let go of hurt!

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  9. Denise - That we might LOVE those who are hard to love. Amen! I just finished writing about that moments ago & am posting it tomorrow. Love God's always perfect timing. And how He speak to us through bloggers, like you, who continually keep their ear close to His heart!

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    1. Looking forward to reading your post! You are such a blessing Jen! :)

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  10. Thanks for your encouraging comments on my Joy4Today blog.

    Enjoyed your continued heart/love theme!

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    1. My pleasure Esther; blessings to you!

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  11. Once again I'm refined through your faith! I ask myself often, "Did you choose to love?" Realizing, very clearly, it's a choice. Sometimes an excruciatingly painful one. :O
    Sister, I love seeing you at Journal of Faith. You ALWAYS bless me!
    Love and hugs,
    Cherie

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    1. Your posts and comments bless me too my friend; always love seeing you there (and here!) Love and hugs back Cherie!

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  12. Without the love of God in our hearts it would be impossible to love some people. It would not be humanly possible, but with God all things are possible. Thank you for this reminder.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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    1. I am thankful He does make it possible, and that He reminds me daily! :) Thanks Charlotte!

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  13. Awesome post Denise, Looks like we had some of the same things in mind. Just minutes before coming to your blog I published a post which referenced from Matthew the same verse as you referenced from Luke. We must always remember to love them anyway, even though they did something which offends us.
    Blessings,
    Ken

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    1. Excited to come over and read your post Ken; blessings good friend!

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  14. Hey Denise....'love them anyways....boy that can be so darn hard sometimes to do. IT's funny though there's no peace until that happens. I think we need to love them for us first....great message!!!!

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    1. Thanks Nikki! So true; I always feel peaceful in my heart when I forgive and turn to love!

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  15. It's not always easy, but love brings joy--even if the person doesn't return the love. I think it comes with obedience. God commands love, we obey His commands and that brings joy. Happy Valentines Day!
    Pamela

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    1. Amen Pamela! Hope your Valentine's Day was a blessing!

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  16. The call to love is much higher than anything we can do humanly but His spirit empowers us.

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    1. He does; cuz I am not sure I could always do it on my own!Thankful for His strength and wisdom!

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  17. Great message Denise. "to love those who have hurt us" is probably one of the hardest things for me to wrap my mind around. Not the what, when, where and why, but the how. Thank you for your thought-provoking post. And love the artwork!

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    1. Thanks Brian; the "how" IS the hardest part, but with His scripture close by He gives us the strength to overlook our pain and turn it into love. Thanks for visiting!

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  18. Beautiful!! I am featuring this on Into the Word Wednesday this week. I love this. Loving people that have hurt me is something I know I have struggled with in the past and present. Thanks for linking up!

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