Continued from here.
I stated in my last blog entry that from the outside, it would appear that I feel love toward some people who I do not actually feel any love for. How is this possible? It’s the grace of God!
God loves, and Jesus died for, every person you encounter, including the people in your life who have treated you despicably. That same God, through the Holy Spirit, lives inside of you. Thus, you have access to unending love for the people in your live who have wronged you, regardless of whether or not you have forgiven them. You don’t have to “feel love” to “do love” toward people who have harmed you. For this reason, I am going to stop saying that I “do not love” certain people because I choose to “do love” regardless of whether I “feel love.” Hence, I do “love them,” not because I “feel love” but because I love God enough to choose to be the conduit of his love for people I would, frankly, prefer not to spend any time with. My level of love toward a person is irrelevant. As a servant of Jesus, I must “do love” to everyone he loves, which is everyone!
How do we “do love” to the people in our lives who are difficult to love? We live 1 Cor. 13. We are patient and kind, even when the other person is not. We refrain from speaking behind their backs. We choose not to keep a mental record of the many times they have betrayed or simply annoyed us. To quote a departed saint, we look for Jesus in their eyes, “doing” love solely because we love God, and God loves them. It really is that simple – it’s just not easy.
Whenever I know I will be spending time with someone who is difficult for me to love (or “do love”), I spend time in prayer. I ask God to fill my heart to overflowing with His love for that person. Then, when I am in the presence of that person, love flows through me to that “unlovable” person, which is a gift not only for that person but also for me. For the love to flow into me from God and out of me to the other person, it must run through me, so I get to experience God’s unfailing love in a deeper and richer way. Give it a try!
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace holding many hearts and throwing them outward. Courtesy Bitmoji.]