Often times people tell each other how much they love one another, but as soon as one of them gets angry, or if things don’t go their way, the “#love” flies right out the window. Bringing up recollections of painful memories, accusations, etc. That is not love. The word of God in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13 (often called the “Love” chapter) says, “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” True, godly love makes room for a loved one’s mistakes and shortcomings. True love has an understanding of the needs of others. It refuses to keep a list of wrongs and is not easily angered. The focus of true love is not on one’s own pain, but on understanding of the pain of others.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Having read that, how do we go about showing mercy to excessively sensitive people or to those who never let go of the past? There has to be a reason why someone is touchy, easily angered, or keeps track of what others do or don’t do for them. She/he may be hurting inside. Perhaps there are past wounds which never healed, or maybe insecurities come to the surface when things don’t go as planned. None of these are sins, but they can lead to sin, which brings animosity and breaks relationships. That is what separates us from God’s blessings. As Rick Warren said, “Expectation brings separation.” God has commanded us to love one another.
In (Ephesians 4:26) apostle Paul wrote: “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.”
According to the verse above, whenever we are involved in a conflict, we must seek resolution before the day is over. Before the sun changes its color to dark orange and hides its face, no matter whose fault it is, and regardless of the awkwardness of the moment, we must pick up the phone or go in person to say, “I’m sorry.” From my personal experience, it is never easy to be the one to come forward and initiate resolution of a conflict. But the reward is overwhelming. The courage to overlook your own pain comes from the Lord who gives generously to those who seek His strength.
Jesus is the perfect example of this kind of pure love and understanding. He willingly accepted a brutal death on the cross for the sins of the entire world. Whoever believes in him will be forgiven. Jesus will be with them and will carry their burdens. He will be their comforter and everlasting help.
If God Himself cancelled all our sins by sending Jesus to take away our sins, then who are we not to overlook the shortcomings of our loved ones? And who are we not to forgive one another? We must let bygones be bygones, forgetting the past and living in the present, for only in the present moment do we find God with us. And never lose hope for the future, for He is in charge of all that is forthcoming.
With this in mind, I have learned so much from the verse below. As Jesus was nailed on the cross, He prayed for His enemies, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) In this verse, I see how forgiveness ties in with love. Some think that if they forgive someone, it shows that they are weak. On the contrary, they are not weak – they are the strongest of all! By practicing forgiveness in their daily walk, they overcome any conflicts which come their way, giving them peace at night.
I speak from my own experience: I have discovered through my own difficult circumstances that the sooner I forgive, the quicker I feel at peace. I am then able to have love and compassion toward the person who I had conflict with. I hope that when I hurt someone (not intentionally but we all fall short at times), they would be quick to forgive me.
This is all easier said than done. What about those who are easily angered? Is it right to keep track of their sin? Do we need to distance ourselves from them, or do we overlook their shortcomings? The word of God doesn’t say that we should write them out of our lives, yet He advises us not to allow “crazy makers” to take away our joy. It is okay to not serve as their doormat. By drawing a boundary, we can express our feelings, thereby allowing them to examine their own heart and hopefully, acknowledge the needs of others through their own love lens. We must follow Jesus’ example, loving those who hurt us. By setting loving limits and through prayer, we can release them into the hands of almighty God.
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20
Woah! Do we really get what the Lord is saying here? Do we? Let’s look at the verse above one more time and see how serious God is about loving one another in spite of our differences. This verse clearly says: No matter how many times a day I tell God that I love Him, and no matter how committed I am to fasting for several days, or bringing valuable sacrifices to His alter; if I have hatred for someone, all that I do for God will mean NOTHING, NADA, ZIP, ZERO. So we must not get too wrapped up with our preferences to serve God and forget about His greatest command: To love one another.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Once someone caught me by surprise, saying, “How can we love everyone? We cannot love a stranger!” It is true that love is adoration and a strong liking. We cannot have such a emotion toward everyone, but we can show respect to all. Opening the door or holding it open for a stranger, helping someone cross the road, assisting someone in need, etc. are everyday ways to show respect, which is another form of love. God wants us to be kind, and loving, with a heart filled with compassion.
Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, the second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”