The answer scripture gave me was, I am to lay down my life. The real issue is I’m trying to have people give me what God should be giving me. Which means not only am I sinning by not getting what I need from God, but I am also putting that thing, person, or feeling above God. I am making it my idol. Anything that is put above God is an idol. I need to go before God, repent and seek forgiveness. Before I can restore any relationships I need to restore my relationship with God. I need to go back to my source of patience, my source of love, my source of self-worth which is really christ centered worth. Because the only worth I have is through Christ. I deserve hell and damnation, but because Christ saved me, I am free from hell and a life seperated from God.
I have been searching my heart for why I am having such a hard time loving and forgiving in some situations. I have a bible in the bathroom, believe it or not it’s were I get the most reading done. Probably because it’s the only place I literally have five seconds to myself. While reading the bible I was reading 1 John 3:18 and some in 1 John 4.
1 John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1 John 3:18: Little Children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
1 John 3:19-20: We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.
does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten son into the world so that we might live through Him.
I have been asking myself, what is love? How do I love when love seems impossible? The question I asked myself or the question the Holy Spirit asked is what am I trying to get from the love that seems impossible. Why am I frustrated that I am to love this person? The answer that was revealed is because I want something and it’s not being given or I think it’s not being given.
The verse that gave me comfort was 1 John 3:20; God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Praise God! Praise God He knows my heart, why I react certain ways. Praise the Lord I am able to go before Jesus, ask his forgiveness and guidance, and he can set me straight. It’s a journey and process to learn to go to God for what I need. Not Mark, not my mom, not my best friends, not to the tub of ice cream, but to Jesus. To the one who knows my thoughts, who knows how I function, the one who knows how to give me what I need deep down. The world or people do not hold what I need. Even though sometimes I expect them too or want them to.
The question now remains what does it look like to lay down my life for my friend. What does it mean to love with action and in deed? The answer I believe is different for every person God has put in my life. The quirks of Mark are not the quirks of Maddie. The quirks of my friends are not the same for each one. My quirks tend to clash with the quirks of others. Different situations are going to require me going before the saviour of this world, the God of creation, and the wisdom giver the Holy Spirit to ask for the guidance I need in every situation.
I do have a good jumping off point when I am struggling to love. Questions to ask myself. Why am I feeling frustrated loving this person? What am I trying to get that I’m not getting? What am I expecting of this person or someone else in this situation? Is what I am asking really their problem or am I making it their problem? Am have a tantrum and need to get over it? Am I giving up my bitterness and malice? Am I trusting and seeking God for truth to change my heart? Do I need to ask forgiveness from anyone for the malice and bitterness I have been harboring? Do I need to ask forgiveness from anything else that I have done, thought, or acted out?
“But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began imploring him. But he answered and said to his father, Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a fattened goat, so that I might celbrate with my friends (I can imagine the sarcasim and anger in his voice, maybe even fighting tears); but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prosititues, you killed the fattened calf for him (more sarcasim inserted I’m sure). And he said to him, Son, you have always been with me, and all that I have is yours (compassionate father tone). But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.” -Luke 15:28-32-
Am I going to being angry and bitter or am I going to pray for my brother? Will I/am I praying for my brother to come back to the Lord. Perhaps I am so angry I don’t care if they come back to the Lord. I pray that is never the course my heart takes! But I am thankful if/when it does God will whack me and help me realize, the same grace that can and will forgive my brother, also forgave me! Lord Jesus, let me not love with words and tongue, but with actions and in truth. Amen!