Free to love?

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A bit of news reached me a few days ago that settled into my heart like a splinter gets stuck in a finger. Every time I thought about it, it created pain, a kind of irritation. Just as inflammation will fester around a little splinter, anger grew around the situation in me.  Focusing only on my own disappointment, I turned into a critic, refusing to see possibilities for that person and their choices. Finally, I took my heart to God, asking for His forgiveness for a critical spirit, seeking His grace. ‘Dig it out of me, Lord,” I prayed, ‘so that I will be free to love.’

Have any splinters stuck into your heart recently?
In the pain have you reacted without really understanding the person, the back story, and/or all of the issues that are at stake?
Have you tossed any word grenades at anyone recently reacting defensively because of fear?

Jesus generally approached others with offers of acceptance and understanding. He models a life that seeks redemption. When some grenade throwers dragged a woman who was having an adulterous affair to Him He could have lashed out at her with scathing words about her shamelessness and her lack of character, but He did not. Was he ‘soft on sin’ or lacking conviction about morality? It would hard to make that case since He came to give His life to save us from our sins!  Jesus saw the person before He saw their actions. He loved people. So, when this woman was brought to Him, His first words were affirming, hopeful, redemptive; and only then did he say, “Now, go and sin no more.”

Jesus was free to love a sinner because was not threatened by public opinion or pressure. He had not issue in His life that made Him doubt His Father’s love.  His primary desire was to please His Father. God’s approval is the only thing that mattered in the end. What freedom we find in being loved by our Father in heaven. In a passage about our relationships, John teaches us that “Perfect love expels all fear … We love each other as a result of his loving us first.” (1 John 4:18-19, NLT) By faith we receive the love of God, through Christ Jesus, and as His love wraps us with secure hope, we can stop living defensively, even though we know that we live in a broken world.  Living the life of an encourager, being hopeful, is a mark of security in the love of God.

Are you hurting because of disappointment in another? Let God love you and then forgive.  Forgiveness does not mean that we say, “It doesn’t matter. I’m over it.”  Instead, we hand all of the hurt to Him, releasing the debt we hold over another person to His judgment. When we give up resentment, when we let Him love us, we become like Jesus, authentic in our hopefulness for others, encouraging, and redemptive. Yes, we are free to love! There is a great joy found in instilling another with hope, in helping to lift a burden, in pointing one to a new way of thinking.

Here is a word from the Word.  These inspired words are both comforting and challenging. Lord, give us understanding and faith to receive Your word as living words today. Amen.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:7-12, NIV)

__________

Untitled Hymn (Come To Jesus)

(an older song, that invites us to know Jesus’ love)

Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O raise your head for Love is passin’ by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live

 Now your burden’s lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain
So sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live

 Like a newborn baby
Don’t be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
sometimes we fall
So fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live 

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain
Then cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live

 O and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can’t contain your joy inside
Then dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live

 And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world good-bye
Then go in peace and laugh on glory’s side
And fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live

Chris Rice
© 2003 Clumsy Fly Music (Admin. by Word Entertainment, LLC) CCLI License # 810055

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