Jesus loves my enemies.
Perfect love casts out all fear.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
I still fear.
Yet, I’m still marvelously saved. I still stand awed by His love for me. I wonder though, at His thoughts concerning my inability to love those whose sins I’ve judged to be too horrible to forgive.
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 1 John 2:5,6
I remember on the trip to Mexico, that I never got around to expounding on, walking the little distance into Mexico that I did, I was in a place where with every step I felt like I could be walking the gospel. There were beggar women holding out cups, and one in particular that I remember begging while flies buzzed around her children sleeping, lying on the sidewalk, things I’ve never seen outside of television.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Matthew 9:36
In that place, walking those streets, I felt as though I could “keepth his word” and “walk, even as he walked”. Imagine if you were desperate for 50 dollars just to survive the end of the week, and someone walked by you wanting to give someone a million dollars. I felt as though I had in abundance, exactly what was needed, and desperately wished for the moment they could receive it. I loved them. And I knew I loved them. It was a love that seemed almost tangible. And I understood better –better, but far from completely I’m sure – what it meant to be moved with compassion.
It’s easy for me to feel love for the beggar, the helpless, the hurting. That same compassion doesn’t move me for the hurter. I look upon problems and easily see the needs of the sick, the poor, the homeless, the widow, and the fatherless. Those needs are easy to see and have compassion on. But those who call themselves Christian, yet walk rampant in a sin that leaves its victims scarred and broken, I’ve yet to figure out Gods ability for compassion. My ability to separate the sin, from the sinner seems to only apply to a self-chosen list of forgivable sins.
There but for the grace of God, go I.
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; 1 Corinthians 15:10a
It’s easy to find someone with a broken family, addiction problem, health problems, loss, pain, struggle, inner torment, fear, brokenness, or one of a multitude of sins that can plague your life. I can find those people just by stepping out my door each morning. And with each and every one of them I can solemnly say that but for the grace of God, I would be there as well.
Yet in my own life, maybe you’ve done this in yours too, I’ve created my own unpardonable sin. It’s the sin I’ve determined I would rather die than commit, and so I can’t see reason to forgive those that do commit it.
Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. –
That quote has stuck with me since the day I first read it. It especially pricks at my heart while I struggle to find anything Christ-like in my feelings toward a man I abhor. Because of my feelings, it is me that feels the pain, not him. God didn't call me to love the easily loved, but to love as He did.
Even as I have struggled through this, I am so glad for the struggle. I wanted to draw closer to God, and He’s drawing me. He's showing me things that need to be purged in order to get the closeness with Him that I desire. It's called progress. And I'm glad.
I’ve read several pioneer stories about families making the dangerous journey west towards –get this because it’s important- a better life. They all start out with their possessions, but with each hill they have to climb, or each river they have to ford, more and more of their ‘stuff’ gets cast off to the side. Ultimately, by the time they’ve reached their destination they have thrown away so much of their stuff that seemed important at the beginning of the trip. And often, they have even lost animals that they would have once declared as vital for their families’ survival.
With that as an example to me, I believe that each step I get closer to Christ, the more of me and things I deem important, I will lose. My growth will not come easily, without trial or cost. Last time I grew, you endured many posts about how terrified I was to become a foster parent, and how I couldn’t do it. But here's what I've learned. I won't learn to trust, without first having been afraid. I won't learn to forgive, without first having been hurt. And I won't learn to love, truly love, until I've met the people that only God could love.
So, before I close this post I want to challenge you to think about your own spiritual growth. Our growth is not in the easy times, but the difficult. So ask yourself this: how long has it been since God asked me to do something, I didn’t want to do?