About 2 1/2 years ago something happened that shook my world. It shook my definition of love, of people’s worth, of forgiveness. It was one of those times when all that “talk” actually is tested and I got to see what I really believed.
I grew up hearing Christians say that we were to “love our enemies”, “love covers all sins”, and “love isn’t easily offended”. I believed all those things. I really thought I did. I believed that everyone and anyone was deserving of second chances, forgiveness, and love.
Then the unimaginable happened and someone very close to me committed serious crimes and hurt my family (and others) in ways that I never imagined possible. After the initial shock and disbelief wore off, I was left with so many emotions. Anger, hurt, sadness. I won’t go into the details of the situation that happened, but it has dragged out over the last 2 1/2 years.
Throughout this time, my “love” has been tested. See, love often gets confused with the amazing emotions that make us feel “in-love”. I don’t feel “in-love” towards this person anymore. I don’t have those happy feelings or think of them with fondness anymore. I think this person deserves consequences for their sins, this person not only hurt others but largely impacted their life negatively, and this person will never be part of our family the same way again. Yet through all of that, my heart feels a sadness for this person. This person has worth. This person needs love. True love. Love that all of us Christians preach about but hardly ever show. How can I expect this person to receive love from anyone if I myself am not willing to show it?
You see, it’s easy for me to love the murderer that I’ll never know, who killed someone I’ll never know. Because as horrible as that situation is, I’m removed from it. I am not personally connected to either one of them so it’s easy for me to “love” them. It’s easy for me to say that the prostitute deserves love and a better life, because I don’t know the families that her affairs have shattered. Once again, I’m removed from the situation and loving her is easy. However, when someone commits an offense against my family or someone I know, it all of a sudden becomes personal. It becomes different. It’s a whole lot easier to preach that everyone deserves love/forgiveness/a second chance…EXCEPT for that person.
It easy to love our enemies as the Bible teaches…until we are faced with loving OUR enemies.
What I’m asking you to do is call yourself out on this hypocrisy. Face it for what it is, and purify your heart. Loving people isn’t easy. Loving sinner’s isn’t easy. It’s easier for us to hold onto our hurt with pride in our hearts because of the injustice that has been done to us. The reality is, when we do this we are killing ourselves more than we are even effecting the other person. Love may be for others, but forgiveness is for ourselves and they have to be done together otherwise they are incomplete… and we’re still left drinking the poison.