Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Working on your character 4: Love

Love is the most fundamental characteristic in a Christian’s life, yet love is one characteristic that most Christians struggle with! How do I love somebody who has hurt me so badly? How do I love and forgive my mother who has said all those painful words to me? How do I love that friend who always belittled me and always showed disgust towards me? How do I possibly love that housemate who went all out to make my life a misery? (You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven! Mathew 5:43-45).

What is love?

A person who has never experienced Jesus’s love will never know what true love is! I once thought that sex is love, money, materialistic things…I thought that love is temporary! I thought that I could love a person today, the next day when I don’t get what I usually get from them, and this could be a greeting, a smile, money, a gift, a phone call, then I could hate them! I thought that it was the right thing to do, loving those who love me and hating those who hate me! A person who has not accepted the love of Jesus will never wholeheartedly love another human being; it all starts with the Father, with what Jesus did on the cross! (Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13). The world doesn’t believe this message because they can’t fathom how a pure Man can possibly love and be so good to them when they are so unworthy! God’s love says, “Yes Saul, I know you persecuted my children, but I still love you and want you to work for me! I will even change your name and call you Paul! Yes, Simon, you are now Peter!  I know you denied me three times when I was at my loneliest, but I still say: on this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it! Yes Titi, you were known as an immoral filthy woman, but now I will change your name and call you Pure, and despite all that you have done, I still want you to lead this nation!” You see, you have to experience Jesus on a personal level to be able to love as he loves! The kind of love that says, “I know my mother said all those bad words to me but I will forgive and love her with all my heart! I know my father was never there, but I will accept and love him, because he is the only earthly father that I have! I know my neighbour mistreated me, but I will always avail myself when she is in need!” Accept Jesus, grow in His love, embrace it, and you’ll find it easier to love another person!  (Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:13-24)

Everyone makes mistakes…

It has been very hot and crowded on campus lately! Trying to find my way through the rowdy crowed one day, somebody pushed me until I somehow staggered and bumped my head on the door! With so much irritation I made a loud sigh attempting to make him feel bad! He sincerely apologized, but I didn’t say anything, I didn’t even look at him! He said, “It was a mistake. One day you’ll make a mistake and you’ll know how it feels like!” I felt bad because I remembered the many times I also committed mistakes against others, against God and yet He forgave me! (As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who honour him. As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us. Psalm 103:11-12) Walking in God’s love is a constant reminder that nobody is perfect, and everybody makes mistakes! You also make mistakes, you have probably also made them, and you definitely will in the future! 

Recall the good…
I turned 23 years a couple of weeks back, and just like many of my adult birthdays, my day was not “all that”! My dad only sent me a message saying, “happy b-day”! From a dad one would expect a phone call, or an airtime voucher, or anything you know! Ironically, he called my sister on that day and never did bother to call me! I was obviously hurt but I have learned to never expect much from mere human beings than I expect from God! I have come to an understanding that no one can ever love me as much as God loves me so I’m not going to be too hard on other people! Rather, I will recall the good that they have done! When I was still in high school, on my birthdays my dad drove all the way from Mafikeng to Vryburg to bring me cake and some party things! When I remembered this I loved and appreciated him over again, and was grateful that I still have a father who loves me and provides for me! See the good in others! No matter how badly a person might treat you, there is still good in them! The devil tries all the time to take me back to the past, to how badly people treated me, but God’s love draws me to the right memories! Negative words are replaced with positive ones! Feelings of anger are replaced with feelings of love and forgiveness, only the love of God can do this! 

Let it go…really, just let it go! 

Forgiveness sets you free; love really does set you free! Sometimes  you might be holding on to something that someone has done to you many years ago just to find out that they have moved on and don’t even remember that incidence! Yes circumstances change us, people change us, but when Jesus comes into your life He will perform the greatest change that no man has ever seen! Jesus allows you to see things on a different perspective; you see the depths of the situations through the depths of His love! When somebody treats us bad we think that we have every right to always make them feel guilty and fearful of what they have done, but it is not a Christian’s responsibility to make another person feel bad! The bible says that there is no condemnation in Jesus so if you are the kind that likes to make people feel bad check your spirit!( I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell.  I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned—but if I have no love, this does me no good. 1Corinthians 13:1-3) Loving others is the whole definition of being Christian! To deal with all the bad memories and encounters, I pray for those who dislike me because I want to experience the true meaning of Christianity!

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