“When he left the room I bent over saying – “I’ve just hugged the man who’d murdered my son”. Then, as I got up, I felt something rising from the soles of my feet and leaving me. From that day on I haven’t felt any hatred, animosity or anger. It was over.” - Mary Johnson, The Forgiveness Project
How can this be? How can a parent lose their only son and extend love to the one who took his life away so carelessly?
Our Heavenly Father knows all too well.
But His one and only son chose to die for you and me.
Let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus:
Jesus’ teachings on love are some of the most difficult to accept.
Love is absolutely more than a feeling. As unromantic as it sounds, love is a choice.
Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross. He chose it.
In the same way, we are commanded to love our enemies.
We are called to imitate Jesus’ humility.
But… but… what’s in it for me? That’s the whole thing! THIS kind of love is so high, so deep, so wide, and SO POWERFUL that we are never lacking when we extend it to others. In fact, I’d argue the opposite.
We received this love freely. So what is our motivation to share it? Not to gain something in return!
We consider their souls before our comfort.
When we hear stories like that of Mary and Oshea we recognize that THIS kind of love is something the world cannot offer.
I pray that the Word of God transforms our minds and hearts to view our troubled relationships or even hate for others as an opportunity for God’s glory to show up.
Jesus’ love isn’t fair.
We do not get what we deserve.
Jesus’ love breaks chains from around hearts!
Do you know what happens when we love the way Jesus does? Satan recoils back.
Love is our greatest weapon!
As much as we want to protect ourselves from pain or see justice served on this side of heaven, take these passages to heart and consider Jesus who endured all things to save us.
When they don’t deserve your love… abide in Jesus’ love.
When they don’t deserve your love… stay vulnerable.
When they don’t deserve your love… forgive them.
When they don’t deserve your love… do the opposite than the world.
When they don’t deserve your love… trust in God’s ability to love. Not your own.
When they don’t deserve your love… God will defend you.
When they don’t deserve your love… view life in span of eternity.
When they don’t deserve your love… remember God’s mercy.
When they don’t deserve your love… never give up hope.
Lord, empty us of ourselves and pour into our hearts Your love through the Holy Spirit. Sacrificial. Whole. Pure. What wondrous love this is! We confess that we often love others conditionally or to gain it back in return. Thank you for telling and showing us what true love is. Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, help us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Give us your strength to run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him - he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sits at the right hand of Your throne. May I never forget him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that I will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12)
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
*** Please note that this blog post is not in support of women or men staying in abusive relationships. If you are in a relationship that needs professional help please contact a local counselor or the National Domestic Violence Hotline for guidance.