“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” 1 John 4:8
God calls us to love one another as we love ourselves, what does that really mean? How do you love someone that is unloveable, someone that has hurt you so deeply that even though the wounds have healed, the scars remain…. Powerful question, one that everyone will grapple with at some point in their lives.
Then there is agape love….. Modeled by Christ, not based on feelings, but is a determined act of the will. A decision to joyously put the welfare of others above ourselves. These “choices” of love are unnatural to us in our sinful nature, however agape love can only come from the Holy Spirit pouring into our hearts, overflowing to others, both for believers and bitter enemies. Because of Gods love toward us, we are able to love one another.
Loving the “unloveable” was an area God worked on with me as a young woman. I was deeply scarred by the abuses of an alcoholic father. Grappling with the Lord over loving and forgiving my father, the Lord revealed to me an image of my father as a small boy, also abused and hurting…. HE also showed me Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for all of our sins, including mine!
How was I to expect forgiveness from God, when I was unwilling to forgive my father and love him in spite of his behavior…. Powerful things happen when you are willing to humble yourself before the Lord and truly lay it ALL at HIS feet!
Agape love was revealed to me in a more tangible way on a mission trip to Nicaragua. The mission field makes way for miracles and changes of the heart that most other life experiences can’t match… I remember thinking that I was going on the mission trip to love and serve others in a way that would impact their lives. And, yes our team did serve and love, but the greatest impact was on my own heart! People, poor and considered outcasts by their own government, were so grateful they wanted to give us gifts of thanks for the basic medical care we offered them.
I saw the face of Jesus in each and every one and my heart swelled with love for them, total strangers, that I still pray for eleven years later!
All fear of safety and potential disease completely left my mind, which enabled me to touch, love on, kiss, hug and hold as many as I could reach…. I praise God for such a beautiful time with HIS children and for the true love and grace HE taught me, changing me forever!
The difficult kinds of love truly are a choice, but we have the greatest example of that love:
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5: 1-2
It is a choice that you will never regret!
#lovingtheunlovable, #forgiveness, #thewayoflove