As I was meditating on what to write this month, an old song came to me, which I slightly changed. “Love and forgiveness, love and forgiveness, go together like a horse and carriage. You can’t have one without the other.” Love comes naturally and flows from the heart. However, when someone we love hurts us, another emotion erupts: anger. And that emotion can develop into hate.
We often use the word love. It can become such a common word that we fail to understand its true meaning and the ramifications it involves. Let’s review a portion of the love chapter.
“Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]” (1 Cor. 13:4–7 AMPC).
When we extend our love toward someone, we risk being hurt. No one enjoys being hurt because it brings many emotions. Hurt can cause us to be angry and hold a grudge against someone or even sever the relationship. Do you realize it takes energy to stay mad? Mental energy is expended, and heart energy is drained. In fact, we often put up a protective wall to keep any pain from getting in again. However, in doing that, we are closing our hearts to the emotion of joy.
Though loving someone involves risk, the Bible instructs us on what to do when we are hurt. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop” (Mark 11:25 AMPC).
We may think we are strong by holding on to anger and standing firm to make a point. The truth is, it takes more strength to forgive someone and move on. My husband grew up in a family where forgiving came as natural as loving. I was not fortunate to grow up in that kind of environment. Therefore, forgiving someone was not as easy for me.
Prayer changes our emotions and thoughts toward others.Lynette Hagin
I kept rehearsing what someone did to me. And that only kept the wound open. The more I thought about it, the bigger the wound became. My husband would say, “Honey, just let it go.” I would respond, “That might be easy for you, but it is not easy for me.” A battle took place between my heart and my head. My heart told me to let it go. My head cried out, “But how?”
I asked my husband, “How do you let it go?” His reply did not help me. He said, “You just do!” I finally went to the Lord and asked Him. Aren’t you glad that God always has the perfect answer for us?
The Lord directed me to His instruction book, the Bible. The instructions had always been there, but I had failed to make them a part of my life. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt. 5:43–44 NKJV).
Prayer changes our emotions and thoughts toward others. As I began praying for those who had hurt me, my love was once again extended toward them. I encourage you to pass the love test. Pray for those who have hurt you until your love is restored to them.
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