Somewhere inside, is your heart closed off in apathy?
Even though I want to love the way Jesus loved, openly and freely, I confess my heart is closed off in a specific area.
I have an enemy. All of us face attacks from Satan, and I’m no different. But I have a real, live enemy who seethes hatred in every interaction.
Not openly, of course. That wouldn’t be civilized. Hatred delivered in a passive-aggressive way. Snarky comments. Slanted looks. Irritation and exasperation over the tiniest disagreements.
Why is this person so angry with me? Because I stood up to them and wouldn’t accept their condescension. I confronted in the way Jesus suggests, and they wouldn’t accept it. This person has been trying to get even with me ever since.
In our culture where hatred, division, and snark runs rampant, how are we to show love?
In our daily lives with difficult people, how can we put love into action?
My self-protective reflex wants to draw back in apathy. To build up layers and layers of callus, an emotional shield against further hurt. After yet another hateful spew, all I want to do is withdraw.
But Jesus’ words shake me out of my apathy: Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.
So I fight the temptation toward apathy with prayer. I pray for insight into this person’s difficult situation, because “hurt people hurt people.” I pray blessing on them. I also pray that God would speak to their heart and transform them with His grace and love. I pray that I would remain calm and peaceful when attacked–that I would model Jesus’ meekness (strength subdued). I pray that Jesus will help me turn the other cheek and help me disengage from fruitless battles.
I show love in the only acceptable way in this situation. I give genuine compliments when opportunities arise. These kindnesses aren’t received with thanksgiving, but I feel my compliments are small acts of love nevertheless.
There’s only so much I can do in this hard situation. Yet even in my limitations, I want to love like God does. He never gives up on me. He never loses faith in me. He is always hopeful I will come around to his ways and his truth. He endures with me through every circumstance.
Because God has done so much for me, I want to love others with the same love He gives me. Even if they continue to reject and despise me, my attitude and acts of love are my testimony of Jesus to them.
Questions for you:
What difficult person or situation tempts you toward apathy?
In what way can you show this difficult person Jesus’ love?
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