Love is Your Best Weapon

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 GWT

Happy Wednesday!! I have a lot to be grateful for: God has moved in my life in a major way. Because of my detox I have actually been receptive to God so that I can just watch and participate. He has also been moving in the lives of my friends and family. Oh wait yes…the first semester of law school is over!!!!!!!!! Hallelujah!!! Glory, glory!

Anyway, I’ve written a lot of posts lately via Facebook and Twitter on the importance of guarding your mind and the war we face against the enemy. But I realized something today in listening to Joyce Meyer’s message on Spiritual Warfare. Don’t laugh, but I just thought about a Boondocks episode with Stinkmeaner lol and how they overcame his hatred was with a like mind, and in essence, in love (what both Stinkmeaner and Uncle Ruckus loved to hate lol). As a result, they were able to cast him out of Tom. And that is the lesson: you fight the enemy through unconditional love, love that loves them when they don’t love themselves, pure and uncontaminated love, Agape love, the God-kind of love. How you do this is you make it up in your mind that you will smile and be kind to the grouch, you will open doors for the bigots, you will pay for the meal of an elderly or homeless person, you will give to the person that asks…yes all this and more!

As she was preaching, it made me think of some things. One thing in particular…I loved a man…(I think that is in a song…yep Lauren Hill lol!) This love I had for him was different from any I had ever experienced in my life. Before this, with my ex-boyfriend, I had purposed in my heart to love people the way that God does. Loving my ex-boyfriend was extremely difficult. It is hard loving a broken person, someone who had been abused and in turn dished out that same abuse. (Hmmm, I know that is something God could say about me…and you too!) But with this other man, the love came naturally and was easy at first because it was fun and there was a transparency I never had. I loved him like I loved my brothers, not romantically, although I felt I grew to love him that way. I felt like it was okay to be Marquita–almost, but I was afraid to really love him. Then things started to go sour, and strangely enough, I loved him more. I wanted to pour out all the love that God had placed in my heart on him, to help heal him from the pain he had, because whether he admitted it or not, there was pain. I could see it…because having been in that same kind of pain, I knew what it looked like. At some point over the last year or longer I finally gave up–and did exactly the opposite of what was above. I realized my ‘keeping hope alive’, lol, was from a selfish place. I was truthfully not walking in love towards him by getting caught up in my feelings. Finally, I realized one day, I was only thinking about myself. So I had to let God lead me as I tried to stop loving someone who did not love me back and still walk in love towards him in spite. How did I do that, you ask? Well, I knew that we are instructed to love–so I had to keep interceding, praying and trusting God with that person. It meant putting everything into the perspective of his soul being saved instead of being caught up in my feelings, especially when it meant our relationship was over for good.

You see it is those very things…feelings…that keep us bound in the hurt that a person inflicted on us, and sometimes they do not even know what they did (blinders to our shortcomings sometimes prevent us from seeing who we hurt while we are hurting). Can’t you see that this battle is in our minds?! Our emotions, thoughts and feelings all tell us to protect ourselves and retreat in defeat instead of warring in the Spirit through the love of God! Not only do we fight war in the traditional sense of binding and loosing the enemy, but we war by giving that person the same love that God gives us. You must make a conscious decision in your mind to seek God for the strength to love everybody His way. Love even the person that broke your heart, your mom who lied or put you in the middle, your family that did nothing but tear you down, your ex-boyfriend who physically put their hands on you…or that best friend that abandoned you. We must love these people in spite because God loves us that very same way.

I love 1 Corinthians 13 because it speaks to my heart. Before my dad passed, I had already purposed in my heart to speak and share how God taught me what His love was in the four months that it took for the cancer to steal my dad from us. I saw friendship, forgiveness, and love between my parents like never before. My prayer was that God healed him, so that I could keep seeing that smile and light emanate from my mom. I searched in an unfulfilling, mentally and emotionally taxing relationship to create the love He put right in my parent’s home! At the prayer vigil, I read and I guess I preached, from this chapter. The passage above shows us the very actions that the Agape, God-kind of love does and what it is, and this is our guideline. You war in love: you are patient, allowing the process and let God’s work take place. You are kind because you remember God is kind to us especially because we don’t deserve it. You get rid of that jealous spirit; don’t get mad because you have to share your friends, your spouse, family or children with others. But wait, let me be real here, don’t envy someone else’s relationships because your relationships are not what you envisioned. When you love others you don’t always point out the things you’ve done and conversely you don’t remember every wrong they have done to you. I can and would go on, but you see what I mean. We war over those we love and God has assigned to us by these scriptures. You fight these battles with agape love: keep praying, keep hoping, keep interceding even when it hurts. The enemy hates nothing more than when you spread your love on those who have hurt you. He would hate nothing more than your being loving to all you encounter. Perfect love casts out fear; perfect love dispels hate. That’s how you fight the enemy! You can bind the spirits but then you have to work on the mind by loving them in spite. Get over yourself and let God’s love transform you!

Love sincerely. Hate evil. Hold on to what is good. Be devoted to each other like a loving family. Excel in showing respect for each other. Don’t be lazy in showing your devotion. Use your energy to serve the Lord. Be happy in your confidence, be patient in trouble, and pray continually. Share what you have with God’s people who are in need. Be hospitable. Romans 12:9-13 GWT

Love’s Healing Power

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)