This is my command: Love each other…. (John 15:17).
Loving others when they love you back is simple. The thing is, Jesus loved those who betrayed Him too. Can I just be really honest? That’s a hard one for me to live out. It’s not that I don’t want to love them, it’s just so much harder for me to do. My natural tendency is to just try and forget about it and honestly that’s almost impossible to do. I’ve noticed “just trying to forget about it” doesn’t take the pain away. It just continues to bubble on the surface.
But what do we do when we’ve been betrayed, rejected, forgotten and abused? It seems as though the answer, at least with Jesus, is always love. Now, this doesn’t mean that we invite them back into our life if they continue to act in destructive ways towards us, but it simply means that we do not allow our hearts to grow hard towards that person. It means we don’t allow things like bitterness, and unrighteous anger to burn towards them on a daily basis.
The church is so divided over this because instead of love, we judge. Instead of love, we hurt, betray and mistreat others within the body of Christ. Why? Because our own lives have not been captured by Jesus’ simple command to love one another.
Our driving force within the church can quickly become fear, control, and power. If this is the ship we find ourselves to be the captain of there’s no telling what we will do to protect ourselves.
You know what’s easy for me to do? Look at the hurt others have caused me and forget that I’ve hurt others too. You know what this causes me to ask myself? Heather, how would you want someone else to treat you if you hurt them? Well, I would want them to pray for me. I would want them to ask God to grow my heart in love. If I have sinned against them, I hope they would come to me and tell me so that I could make it right.
Maybe love doesn’t get practiced very much in the church because we’d rather use tools that are easier to pick up. Tools that tear town. Tools like gossip, rage, bitterness, and revenge. One of the most loving and unifying things we can do in the church is restore things that have been demolished by sin.
We love to do it with old furniture and cars, but we hate practicing it in real life with people. Yet, this is where Jesus’ simple command to love one another becomes most real. This is where we must practice it for the sake of our own growth and for the betterment of the body of Christ.
Lord, I come to you with a heart that really just wants to love others. I know that I do not do this perfectly, and so I need your Holy Spirit alive in me to help me accomplish it. Abba, please, fill my heart for those who have hurt me with your love, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.