Sunday evening, at my small group meeting, we talked about love. We covered many different verses and had a lot of in-depth conversation. We talked about what it meant to truly love others, how we can express love, and ways we can begin to work on loving those we consider enemies. Small group is one of my favorite things at Eikon because it provides for us a time to spend with people our age. It develops more close-knit relationships and it always seems that everyone has something important to add. We’re all able to talk about different things and discover new thoughts and really support each other.
Our conversations got me thinking. Love is really something that I’ve struggled with, especially over the past year. I mean, I of course love my friends and my family. I have a completely unconditional love for them. I would go great lengths for any one of my friends or family members. But that’s easy. It’s not challenging to love my friends or my family (most of the time). What is challenging, however, is loving those people who just aren’t easy to love. Whether it be the co-worker who just really gets on your nerves, that child that acts out almost all of the time, or that person that likes to talk about you behind your back. But those are exactly the people God calls us to love.
I know throughout my life, I’ve done a lot of damage. I have not always been the nicest person. I have not always expressed God’s love in the way that I should. I became a bitter person and I took that out on those around me, but that’s really no excuse. So to those that I’ve hurt in the past – I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I didn’t show you the love I needed to. I hope that you can forgive me and see that I’m a better person now than I ever have been.
And while I have come a long way, I know that I’ve also got a long way to go. I am by no means perfect; none of us are. If we were perfect we wouldn’t need Jesus. I catch myself very often being hateful, or just downright rude. Someone brought up in small group that even if we’re not being ugly to a person, we may not be doing God’s work by just being neutral. We have to go that extra mile to express love to them, even when it’s inconvenient.
We also discussed loving our enemies. Well, let me tell you something – if loving people in general is something I struggle with, loving enemies is something even worse. I have a habit of completely and totally cutting people out of my life when they hurt me. It’s not a good habit to have, but it has always protected me. I’ve done a lot of that this past year. But I know that I now need to love these people. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’ve cut someone out of your life because they are just bad people for you, then I’m not, by any means, saying invite these people back into your life. Because I won’t. But that doesn’t mean that we have to harbor hate for these people. Harboring hate does not good for you, and it does not harm to them. It’s like the late Nelson Mandela once said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” In the long run, you are the one who ends up bitter. So to those who have hurt me in the past, I forgive you. I love you the way God would want me to love you, and I don’t hold any grudges against you. It’s easy to say, but once you really forgive someone, I believe life gets a lot easier. Instead of constantly thinking about a person and how they’ve done us wrong, we can focus on other things like our family, our work, and just enjoying life.
So here’s to a hate-free year, full of loving our neighbors and our enemies even when it’s not exactly easy or convenient.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8
PS – I’ve moved my blog, as you can pretty clearly see. This is a much easier site to use, plus you can leave comments and feedback, which I would love to see. Thanks for reading, guys. (:
(featured image from The Worship Project )