By His Grace
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you and persecute you.” Mathew 5:44
This command can be difficult when you experience abuse of any kind. Our emotions are tied to our flesh and require retribution; payback first and foremost, with forgiveness coming later. It is neither emotionally nor spiritually healthy to live with unforgiveness. And it goes directly against biblical principles and experience with God. The word of God instructs us to love one another, deeply, for it covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8). And forgive one another sins as the Father has forgiven ours (Mathew 6:14).
How does one move beyond frustration and anger, especially when you were innocent of any wrongdoing and the act against you was unjust.
Follow the example of Jesus. When our Lord was persecuted for a crime never committed, He prayed for his enemies and sought forgiveness for their deeds.
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” Luke 23:34
Here forgiveness came when love was present. It is written, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8 NIV
Now don’t misunderstand. In no way are you to remain in any situation that is harmful. Wisdom dictates to love but to do so at a distance if the other refuses to respect you and your boundaries. To walk effectively in this kind of love, do so unto God. As children of God, we are to love in harmony, sympathetically, compassionately and humbly toward one another, trading no insult for insult (1 Peter 3:8).
I recently heard love put this way: As you receive from the Father from heaven above, pour it from within out. The cycle of love will always be in effect. This does not make you appear naïve or gullible. Contrary to others' opinions, you are doing what is commanded by God, and His is the only viewpoint that matters.
I realize your hurt may run deep. Trust when I say the closer you draw to God, the easier his love shall flow out of you. For those who have followed this column, please allow me once again to share.
Love in operation
In 2005, I came to a crossroads: Should I stay or leave. The relationship was not the same. It began to shift after three years. I prayed all the right scriptures. I thought over our future; for we were to be married. As I drew closer to God, he was pouring his unconditional love into me.
Suddenly, he took ill, resulting in a 21-day hospitalization. During this period, the extent of God’s love was revealed.
As he underwent a procedure, it was revealed an affair had occurred.
The betrayal was devastating. I was unable to think straight except to do bodily harm upon his return. The way I saw it, he was already in the hospital. Thank goodness I was still able to hear from the Lord even in my haze of anger.
Every emotion imaginable flowed through me. At this point, I was his caretaker. I began packing my belongings to leave the hospital with no explanation. I knew I was leaving him for good.
As I prepared to depart the hospital, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Stop! Finish what you have started.” That gave me pause. In my mind, I was sure the Lord knew the thoughts of my heart. "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve." -- Jeremiah 17:10
I had to ask, why Lord. He led me to the following scriptures from Romans 12 and many other biblical passages:
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this. He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
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.
Needless to say I emerged from this storm of life a stronger and wiser woman of God. And our relationship ended in an amicable friendship.
When you and I can give this from a difficult place, you have now experienced the agape love extended by our Lord and Savior on a daily bases even when we least deserve it.
May this week’s message help you in your journey of forgiveness. Love truly conquers all.
Keep looking up and be blessed. God loves you.