I love you! Yes….YOU! I don’t have to know you personally to love you, for God has placed a love inside my heart for His children. And you are His child! Whether you acknowledge Him or not, whether you serve Him or not, you are His. After all, He created you in His image and likeness. Genesis 1:26-27 says, “And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.”
With everything that is going on in today’s world, I must remind myself daily to LOVE. “And you must love the Lord your God with all with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these,” (Mark 12:30-31). I admit that it’s not always easy loving those who may abuse and hate you, but God commands it. The old adage says, “Love conquers all!” Not hate! Why would the originator of this quote make such a bold statement that LOVE conquers? It’s very simple. GOD is LOVE! I John 4:7-8 declares, “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.”
Personally speaking, I can’t see where possessing hatred ever made a person’s life better. In fact, holding a grudge against another individual only made me miserable. The mere mention of his or her name caused me to cringe. Now, as a child of God, that should not be. I am to be an example of love, not hate. John 13:34-35 states, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.”
How can I witness to people about Jesus, while picking and choosing whom I’m going to love? I must love everyone. I’m not at all suggesting that to love everyone means to endure abuse! For instance, if a woman is being physically or even verbally abused by her husband, then, by all means, she should remove herself from that toxic situation. Again, the scripture says that we’re to love our neighbors as ourselves, which indicates that we MUST love ourselves also. So a woman, who chooses to love herself by creating distance from her abusive husband, can still love him from afar by praying for him and hoping the best for his life.
This current Presidential election and the increase of unarmed black boys and men being fatally shot by law enforcement have made it apparent that racism is still very much alive in this country. Unfortunately, hate begets hate! So if I’m not careful, as a black woman who loves and honors the black men in her life, I will find myself hating those who hate me simply because of skin color. Nevertheless, my relationship with God has taught me to love, in spite of the negativity thrown my way. Let me give an example. Several years ago I was emotionally hurt by a friend, and it left me very angry. Although I understood that as a Christian I wasn’t supposed to harbor any negative feelings, I yet found myself resenting this individual. I hated the way the negative emotions affected me and knew I needed to be set free through forgiveness. I’ll be the first to admit that forgiveness didn’t come overnight because the resentment didn’t build up in one day. So, I had to continually ask God to cleanse my heart and renew my mind. In addition, every night before going to sleep I read I Corinthians 13 aloud to myself, focusing on verses 4-7, and made it personal by replacing the word “love” with “I”.
“[I am] patient. [I am] kind. [I do] not envy. [I do] not boast. [I am] not proud. [I do] not dishonor others. [I am] not self-seeking. [I am] not easily angered. [I keep] no record of wrongs. [I do] not delight in evil, but [I rejoice] with the truth. [I] always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere.”
Speaking and hearing God’s Word uprooted the unforgiveness that had taken residence in my heart. However, I would not have been set free if I hadn’t accepted God’s truth over my own.
Each day I leave my home and encounter various people throughout the day, I am well aware that some may despise me because I don’t look like they do. Nevertheless, I choose not to entertain such thoughts! It doesn’t matter if they hate me or not because I am STILL commanded to love. In fact, I am now built to love through God’s love. So regardless of who you are, I declare today that I LOVE YOU!
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