Can You Love Anyway?
Author: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
Piggy backing from what I shared in my last post; it’s hard to pray for leaders when that leader is hurtful. It’s hard to pray or even love others when they’ve hurt us. I believe one of the primary reasons it’s so hard to pray or love others when we’ve been hurt is because we cannot see beyond our own self. We cannot see how we hurt others. We cannot see how our behavior can affect others. We cannot see how maybe we contributed to the hurt we are receiving.
Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Tempted to do what you may ask?
Sin follows Sin
The same way love begets love – sin can also beget sin. When someone is unloving there’s always a reason behind it. Usually the pain that a person is experiencing, whether from you or from someone else, will be followed with sin. It very easy to respond to the pain we are experiencing from someone else with anger and resentment, yet imagine how powerful of a moment we can create if we take the time and effort to respond the way God wants us to respond – with love.
In Brennan Manning’s book; The Ragamuffin Gospel, he says people would often ask him how was it possible that he turned into an alcoholic after becoming a Christian? Manning’s response; “It’s possible because I got battered and bruised by loneliness and failure; because I got discouraged, uncertain, guilt-ridden, and took my eyes off Jesus.”
Manning’s response is poignant!
Could it also be that maybe when Manning failed, the people around him responded to him with disgust rather than love? As Christians, it’s easy to become self-righteous. We forget that the way we treat people is nothing like the way Jesus would treat them. When people are unloving – they’re looking for love. When you’re unloving- you’re looking for love too!
Galatians 6:2-3 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. When anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
Think of Jesus Christ. Think of the cross He carried; bruised and battered on the brink of death. Jesus carried that burden for you – and me. He carried it so that we might know and understand love. When someone is crying for help through pain, think of the cross. Think of yourself. How many times a day do you hurt your spouse with your words or actions? How many times a day do you hurt your children with your words or actions? How would you feel if they ignored you in your anger and loneliness? Doesn’t it make you feel good when your spouse comes to you patiently to ask if you’re okay?
We need to have the same patience with others.
How can you respond when someone hurts you?
- Pray for them.
- Call them to see how they’re feeling.
- Send them a nice gift.
- Take them to lunch (same sex) or buy their lunch (opposite sex).
- Send them a quick text with Scripture.
- The lists goes on…
There Are So Many Ways…
There are so many ways to show love to someone who is unloving. We are all guilty of hurting people so we must make every effort to not look at others with judgment. It’s discouraging to do what’s right when we feel misused and abused, but it is so important we remember we are all sinners in need of a Savior. We all need to feel love.
Galatians 6:4 “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.”
If you have trouble showing love to someone who is mean, you might need to do a reality check on yourself. You might need to look inside your own heart and ask God to reveal your deep-rooted pain. When it’s hard to love, it’s because we have not yet experienced the love of God. Sure – when someone is mean to us we can have a bad reaction, but it doesn’t take long for someone who has experienced the love of Jesus Christ to overcome a bad reaction – with love. When you know the love of God, you want to please Him because it grieves you to respond poorly to someone. You know your poor response to someone’s anger does not demonstrate the love of God.
Pray and ask God to reveal your pain. David prayed this prayer to God; Psalm 139:24 “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
I challenge you today to pray and asked God to help you love someone who is unloving. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom for what to say or do. Pray and ask God to lead and guide you. Pray and ask God to forgive your unloving thoughts towards this person. The way to experience love is to show love. God saved you for more than yourself. He saved you to share His love with others. Is it hard?
Can you do it?
Take up the cross and show love to that one person today who has been unloving to you.