I am loved. This love has changed my life. Because of this real love I have found, I am fearless, confident, happy, joyful, loving, kind, patient, encouraged, faithful, determined, & strong.
I am a different person because I am loved by a God who is greater than all my sins.
The bible gives us a clear description of how to love and what love means. 1 Corinthians 13 3-7 says... 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
What if we loved each other this way? What if we loved, not only our friends, but our enemies this way? Imagine if we could offer patience and understanding to those who have hurt us. In our hurt we are not angered, and do not seek to dishonor others. What if we were able to keep no record of wrongs. What if the experience strengthens our faith. What if our hurt brings us closer to God...
Imagine what this upside down world would look like if we loved this way. It seems like a huge undertaking. How can we change, what seems like, an entire world of people who have gone astray? I believe the answer is simple. We are called to shine for Jesus. To help others by showing love. We are called to use our gifts for the good of all people, not just fellow believers. Hearts can be changed. We need to love differently.
I was weed whacking my yard and a friend pulled up to the stop sign next to my house right where I was working. Her husband was driving, she was in the passenger seat with her window down. She said hi to me and I gave her a half-hearted hello. I didn't take the time to see who was talking to me, I assumed it was a friendly stranger. It wasn't until she said, "ok, love you", that I finally paid attention. Once I realized who was talking to me, I stopped what I was doing and became present with them.
After a brief visit, I realized I need to work on how I love strangers! I didn't give her my full attention until I realized she was someone I knew. Someone who I am close to. It is a lonely world right now. What if she had been someone who was barely hanging on, in desperate need of conversation? What if I had let that stranger go...alone?
I am freely given Gods love. Despite all the mistakes I have made. Despite all the times I turn from God. When you truly believe in God's great love for you, nothing can separate you from endless joy, endless love, endless courage & endless strength.