By Robin Houde
I would classify my previous relationships with people as complacent. I tolerated people I didn’t love them. I mean yes there were close family and friends that I obviously loved unconditionally. I’m talking about difficult people, those that aren’t easy to love.
There were many areas in my life that were lacking. I had a feeling that something was missing but I wasn’t sure what it was. I once thought that it was others, not me. That I wasn’t getting what I needed from other people. Not the other way around.
It wasn’t until the Lord spoke to me one day. He reminded me that I’m commanded to love as Jesus loves, with mercy and grace. He said, “Those around you may not deserve it but neither do you.”
At first I was really offended and I pled my case to Him. I defended myself by reminding Him that I’m involved in my church and that I do serve people, mostly with a smile on my face.
I went on to explain that I’m very patient and let people cut in front of me in line at the grocery store as well as in traffic without getting angry. I wasn’t sure what more He wanted from me.
It was then that He said, “I want your heart. I want you to LOVE it. I want you toLOVE THEM! If you don’t love them then you don’t love me.” Wow! I was blown away to say the least. 1 John 4:8 (NIV): “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
I felt so convicted and ashamed that I had missed the mark. At that point, I fell to my knees and I vowed to make a conscious effort to love like Jesus. To love the unlovable. Love those that don’t deserve it.
Of course, this lesson was two-fold. I also learned that with love comes forgiveness, and with forgiveness comes freedom! Love and forgiveness not only frees the one that receives this precious gift, but it also frees the one that it comes from.
Mark 11:25 (NIV): “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything againstanyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Without love and forgiveness in my heart, my circumstances often had me feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Being a warrior at heart, this did not settle well with me so I fought. I built up these enormously tall, strong walls. I armed myself with weapons such as sass,sarcasmand attitude.
These weapons held me captive and prevented me from experiencing deep, loving, mature relationships and also kept me from my true potential in the Lord.
You don’t have to be perfect or have it all together but you have to be spiritually open to the things of God or you won’t be able to hear His voice.
If you’re praying and it doesn’t seem like your prayers are being heard or if you no longer hear His voice, you may want to check yourself. God’s Word commands that we do fight battles but not battles against flesh and blood. He also tells us to arm ourselves with weapons of warfare but not worldly weapons: Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV):
So be a warrior, a warrior for the kingdom of God. Fight for your spouse, your children, your family, your friends. Fight for all that is good in the eyes of the Lord. And the Lord will bless you! Deuteronomy 31:6you.”