We all know these type of people—those who are strategically and purposefully placed in our lives. They challenge us with their words. Battering us with their actions, they set our hearts ablaze. For a moment, we sense defeat. We are angry, hardened, and wanting revenge.
But then, with our reddened faces and hearts still ablaze, the Lord calls us to himself. He speaks the words we long to hear. He defeats the enemy's agenda, and beckons us closer. We receive his warm embrace as our loving Father. He extinguishes those blazing arrows. While surrounded by his presence, he affirms, “I love you,” and “You are mine.” Then, he whispers the words we resist to hear. He says, “Love them. Love them as I have loved you.”
When we are faced with those we deem as unlovable, how can we love? “We love because he first loved us,” (1 John 4:19, NIV). This is why we love. It is how we love. We are able to display true love when we are completely filled with the Father's love.
On those days when I fail to hear his words or speak to him alone? Loving others seems impossible. I'm impatient, rude, and easily angered. I'm almost always self-seeking. But on the days I choose differently, he fills me with his presence. When I hold tightly to his words and listen to his voice, I am reminded, once again, of who I am. He fills me with joy in his presence, (Psalm 16:11). Although the words and actions of those against me hurt, my Father, capable of everything impossible, heals my wounded heart. Then, he equips me to do the impossible—love sacrificially.
Yes, I know we all think these people in our lives don't deserve love, but you know what? Neither do we. Yet, God displayed his unconditional love, and he continues to do it time and time again.
So, those people in your lives? Love them as God has loved you. Love them even if their hearts don't melt. Love them when they respond ungratefully or with an unkind remark. Love them unconditionally.
This week we will conclude our study on love. Please join us this week as we learn about loving others. Please click here for the reading guide. Let's begin by reading a verse from Monday's passage.
"If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?" Matthew 5:46, NIV
As you read this verse, consider these questions:
1) Why is loving those who love you easy?
2) Why is it harder to love those who make you angry?
3) Think of one person you will intentionally pray for and love this week.
Photo: Jilbert Ebrahimi