The other day a friend told me about someone who had done something really nasty to another friend. Friend #1 was appalled that anyone would do such a thing. “Aren’t we supposed to be about supporting one another, not tearing each other down?”
Well, yes. We are. And it would certainly be nice if we all remembered that.
However, I’ve lived long enough to know that even Christians don’t always behave very kindly to each other.
We get going on our own agendas with our own back stories and the hurts we’re dragging along with us, and sometimes that spills over into how we behave toward each other.
See, I believe in Heaven, the point is that we will all get this concept. We will be so in tune with God and others that we will naturally respond in love. In fact, that’s how Heaven can happen right now.
But right now, we also get a lot of “not Heaven.” Why?
Because we haven’t yet learned that love always works and nothing else does. Here, we’re still trying things out like jealousy and anger and revenge. We haven’t decided for ourselves yet that love is always the best answer.
So we meet the hurt of other people with our hurt instead of our love. Someone does something to us, and we give our hurt permission to hurt them back. That is the knee-jerk response.
It is only when we begin to realize that all that does is perpetuate the hurt that we begin to wonder if there is another way. So, instead of hitting them back, we choose to forgive. We meet their hurt with our love.
That’s what Jesus did all the way to the cross–even before He was carrying it!
He met the world’s hurt–disease, fear, anger, jealousy–with perfect love. He believed in the power of love to overcome everything, and He clung to that belief all the way through death, Hell, and the grave and into the Resurrection.
Now I will be the first to tell you, this is NOT easy. It is not easy to return love for hurt. In fact, the only way we can do that consistently is to cling to God Who is the One Whose love never fails. We go to HIM to fill us with enough love that we can meet hurt with love. If we’re trying to go on our own love, we’re going to be sorely lacking.
So whatever trials you are facing, resolve to be the one in the situation who will react and act in love no matter what. When you do, love will change things. When you don’t, nothing else will change anything. But only YOU can decide which way you will respond. Choose wisely.
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2013