Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. (1 John 4:7-12 NLT)
I learned a valuable lesson in loving others this week. I have a bucket list of things to do before I leave Charleston…namely apologizing and forgiving and clearing the air with people so I won’t carry those issues with me to New Orleans. One of those situations was very near and dear to my heart, and the frustrations of it pulled greatly on my heart. I talked to that friend once a couple of weeks ago and I prayed that of something was left to be said, that God would give me the opportunity.
And of course in line with God’s character, He kept having me run into him. This time I thought about the things I said, and it bothered me. After my weekly prayer call and bible study Wednesday, I had a much needed girl talk with one of my friends. God used her to allow some things to resonate with me from some of her own difficult conversations, so I sought Him to give me clarity. As I sat in the tub, I heard Him clearly say, I wasn’t walking in love. I realized I had acted selfishly and truthfully mean, being a little spoiled.
We often do things to protect ourselves after someone hurts us. Your reactions may be different than mine; I stopped all forms of communication with him, even just saying hey and hurry away when I would run into him. I would get ticked off if I saw him and try to go the other direction. But it did not make the hurt go away, in fact it seemed to make it fester and grow into anger.
Only God can heal those hurts. We must allow His love to heal us and we must be obedient to whatever He leads us to do. The beauty of this process has been that God has gently corrected me throughout this process. It surprised me that I had to go through the forgiveness cycle again but it made me even more aware of how important it is for us to be loving in all situations. But it’s so appropriate: how else can we show God to the world unless we love and love all in spite? Try sharing God’s love with all you meet, especially those that have hurt you!
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. (1 John 4:16-19 NLT)