Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What DOES Love Got to Do With It?

It's February. It's called "Love Month." So, people are supposed to show more love...especially on Valentine's Day. Sitting in church listening to my pastor talk about love, and reading along with all the love Scriptures, I was struck with how much I love many people.

My husband. My kids. My grand kids. But also there's my love for people I go to church with; my pastors, my friends, and the ones I call siblings (my sisters and brothers in Christ). And then there is my love for God. My love for Christ. And my love for the Holy Spirit. I am absolutely CRAZY about Him! That might sound crazy to some people, but in my story of healing, Holy Spirit plays a huge part which has caused my great love for Him.

I don't expect people to understand it, nor do I expect people to actually get it or even like it. But the fact remains that were it not for Holy Spirit, my healing would not have been complete. Because it was HE Who helped clear my mind, my heart, and my very existence, and then set me on this path to reveal healing, hope, and love to a world of people who suffer the very things I was healed from!

So, what DOES love got to do with it? If it weren't for love, we wouldn't be here. God loved the world so much that He gave... a LOT (John 3:16)! Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is that we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that the second commandment is like it, that we love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:28-34).

But how do we love our neighbor when said neighbor wants nothing to do with us, or treats us badly, or talks trash against us, or even resorts to physical, mental, emotional, or even sexual abuse? How then, do we love that person?

 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins. ~Proverbs 10:12

Does it do us any good to hold a grudge against, or even hate the people who treat us badly? No. For years I carried a multitude of junk from my past within me. I was hurt, mad, vengeful, and kept a grudge on those who hurt me the worst. Sadly, a few of them were dead and gone! And then I took a "Sick 'em" attitude with God, praying that God would deal with those who had hurt me. In my bad attitude I adopted the following verse:

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. ~Romans 12:20

I loved that "heap burning coals on his head" part! But sadly, what ended up happening was quite the opposite. I was the one who got the burning coals of shame heaped up on my head! Why? My attitude was all wrong. I didn't forgive. I didn't love.

And then God healed me. The Holy Spirit gently showed me HOW to forgive and HOW to love...and a wonderful thing began to happen. Everything in my life turned around. I forgave. I began to show love. I began to give love. This doesn't mean that I went to each individual person who vexed or hurt me and apologized, or reconciled a relationship with them. It only means that I took them off my hook of unforgiveness and holding a grudge... and I put them on God's hook.

God doesn't hold a grudge, mind you. He simply reminds us that we need to take care of some issues within us. It is then up to us to accept or reject our responsibility. Sadly, many people choose to reject that responsibility and continue to hold a grudge, lay blame, and pass judgment. And they live a very miserable life thinking all along that they are justified. Even more sad, these are the very people who go from one person to another, looking for support and justification.

Many people today want to know, "Just exactly who IS my neighbor?" when presented with "Love your neighbor as yourself." They want to make it very technical and difficult when really it's quite easy and doable. Forgive. Love. God is love, Holy Spirit is our Helper, Comforter, Guide, and Best Friend. He is there to help us in this forgiveness and love your neighbor endeavor. If we will choose to ask for His help, He is all too happy to give it. Before long, you will see things start to change.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. ~Ephesians 5:1-2

So what DOES love got to do with it? EVERYTHING!


Karla Akins said...

Beautiful! Wish you and D. could join us at our church on Valentine's Day! We're having a party. :-) And I know how you like to party!

Shelley Wilburn said...

Oh how fun! Wish we could be there, too! I'd love to see some of the girls again. You'll just have to have my part of the fun, too! ;-]

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