I John 3:16-17 (The Message Bible) – This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.
Lately, I have been hit with some serious challenges as I mother three growing and changing girls. What in the world happened to my darling babies who I dressed up, held in my arms, and cried when I had to leave them anywhere? When did they turn into people who could hurt me with shrugs of the shoulder, dirty looks, and below standard work at school and at home not even close to the potential that lies within? When did I join the ranks of parents who had reason to complain about kids who suddenly turned into monsters they didn’t recognize? When did it turn Lord? You set me up when they were born!!
The past week, I have seriously struggled with this new pain and cried more days than one over what to do, what is my part in creating this mess, how could they do this to me when I do so much, and being real, Lord, help me not to be resentful and regretful over how this life of mine has turned out!
I can tell you for myself that when you seek the Lord, He will answer. I can also testify that it may not always be the answer you think it will be but the Lord will comfort you as only He can! In the midst of my crying, whining and complaining, He gently reminded me of the love He has shown to me that I now must extend to my children and anyone else who has hurt me.
More and more, I am convinced that LOVE is more than a four letter word. Recent events in my life and the lives of some close to me, have shown me how people can say they love you and do quite the opposite. I have also seen acts of pure unselfishness being done and not a word was spoken. What motivates some to show love and others to just say it? The way some people act towards you make you declare that they could not possibly love you at all!
But what I have discovered to be fact is that love is present and real whether you feel it or not. In my most unlovable state, God extended His love towards me and gave me a chance to live a new life in Him. He did not base His love on whether I loved Him back or even cared that He loved me! He simply loved and protected me despite me. My Savior had me on His mind when He took on this world and died for me – saving me from a death without the hope of a future with Him!
This I have known but God had to remind me again of how great a mess I have been but He loved me through the process as I now must do with my children. I did not fully understand or appreciate His great grace until much later in my life and neither will they understand the lessons I am trying to teach them until they experience life outside of the cocoon I have built around them. And it is coming sooner than they think!
If I say I love them, I must correct what I see going wrong quickly and firmly but with the thought in mind that discipline is part of their process in learning that life will not always be peaches and cream. If I love them, I will not allow them to believe that their actions do not affect others. I must use this opportunity as a learning moment so they can see they do not live on an island to themselves but are connected in such a way that everything they do affects everyone around them. I must get them to see that their actions now will affect the rest of their lives, no matter how young they are.
This love thing is deep my friends! We cannot say we love someone and then, seeing them in pain or suffering in any way, or going down a wrong path, do nothing! We cannot allow how we feel to prevent us from extending the same grace shown to us. Loving someone despite how dirty their sins are or what they do to us is not an easy task. This I know to be true for myself. Loving while you know people do not have your best interests at heart is a hard thing! How do you love when your first instinct is to run? How do you love when the hurt comes from those who are the closest to your heart?
This extends to any relationship we have. How do you love family members who say mean things, church members who are supposed to uplift you but fall down on the job, spouses who do not understand you, children who are still immature and hurt you to the core?
All I can suggest to you is Jesus! A hymn we used to sing says TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS, LOOK FULL IN HIS WONDERFUL FACE, AND THE THINGS OF EARTH WILL GROW STRANGELY DIM, IN THE LIGHT OF HIS GLORY AND GRACE!
Focus on Jesus – study His examples of love in the face of people He knew would betray and kill Him!
Focus on Jesus – see Him heal people who He never saw again that we knew of!
Focus on Jesus – watch Him heal the ear of one of the very guards sent to arrest Him!
Focus on Jesus – ponder over Him washing the feet of Judas, and seeing Peter deny Him, He still had words to comfort Peter’s heart that restored him to his rightful place – while He Himself was incarcerated!
Focus on Jesus – hear Him love a thief into eternal life!
My God, tears are rolling as I write this as I begin to focus on Jesus! I pray right now for you and for me. I pray God will give us the strength to endure and love someone out of their sins and into the place where God can use them for His glory! I pray I can do this, not just for my kids but everyone I come in contact with!
In this Easter season, may the power of the Resurrection be more than a story but a time of renewal for us to truly show love in action in all we do!
Blessed Be The Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!
Loving More Victoriously!!,