Consider the Lilies..: Loving when it's hard..   

Nov 23, 2012

Loving when it's hard..


Sybil is the author of  Piece It All Together blog..  
I read this post yesterday and wanted to share it, and she was gracious enough to let me..
Read on!
How is it possible to feel such a strong dislike for a person you don't even know, have never met? I guess the same way that it's possible to sing someone's praises when you don't know them personally. Because, you've heard about them from others, have been witness to their actions, have read something they've written.

There is someone very close to me, let's call her Ann, who is experiencing hurt in her life. The kind of hurt that comes from mistreatment. Not a physical abuse, but an emotional one. When I hear stories about the individual, who has been treating her so poorly, my mind automatically goes to anger, to hate. Although I have not experienced this hurt directly, the way it hurts Ann has led my heart to be hard towards a person I only know by name, and through the lens of Ann's experience with her.

This past Sunday morning, I was challenged. As I sat and listened to a sermon related to telling God's story, I heard these three words repeatedly, "pray for her." So, I started praying for the ones who sat near me, about the situations I knew they were struggling with. Then came the three words again, with a sense that I was choosing the wrong her.

"But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! 
Do good to those who hate you." - Luke 6:27 (NLT)

As a Christian, I have been called to share God's story, to show his love, to everyone. Not just to those I love or find to be good people, but everyone. Even those that are hard to love, those that have hurt us or the ones we love. I must admit, even though I am not a hateful person, I do tend to ignore or separate myself from those who have caused hurt, to pretend like they don't exist. While this is not hate, it is certainly not love.

But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! - Matthew 5:44 (NLT)

Sunday's message came from 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. Here were some of the speaker's main points based on that scripture passage:

  • God's story brings new life. With Him, the old has gone, meaning it is no longer remembered. The guilt, shame and fear from the past disappears.
  • Through Jesus we were made into the righteousness of God.
  • As God's people we are called to tell His story, to be an example of new life, to demonstrate His power, and to explain His ways.

Pray for her. For her salvation. For her to accept God's story. For her to experience a new life.

But, Lord, how can I pray for her? She has done and said so many hurtful things, without regard for others, without guilt or shame. Pray for her.

While there are certain versions of the Bible I prefer to read from, I often go to The Message when I want a more modern interpretation of the wisdom of the scripture. I love how The Message interprets Jesus' words in Matthew 5:43-47:

"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out 
of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? 
Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that." - Matthew 5:43-47 (MSG)

Pray for her. Love her. Even though it's hard.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this Ren. I truly needed to read this today! Recently, a group of women whose children attend my son's school have rejected me. They use to be nice to me, but when I didn't go along with their worldly ways, they no longer talk to me. They actually ignore me and give me dirty looks. It has been hurtful to be treated this way. Honestly, it has made me mad and I have complained to my husband about them. This post reminds me to take the focus off of me and pray for these women. They are not walking in God's love. I must remember to stay with Him and be His light.

    You rock Ren!! :) xoxo

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  2. @Marci, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.. I will pray for those women as well, and for you too!

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