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...
Linking up this week with...