Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 2: Loving the Unloveable

No doubt the hardest difficulty to overcome is forgiving others (and often yourself) AND loving others (and yourself). It's easy to love those who love you, who are kind to you; no problem, right? But what about when people deliberately hurt and use you, when they take the love your offer and trample it. What you really want to do is shout at the top of your lungs, "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!"

I know I sure did. I expect people who don't claim to be Christians to react unkind, unloving, deceitful, etc., but when it's a fellow Christian, it's even more painful. Not that being 'un-Christian' dulls the pain, but it's more difficult when it comes from "the family.' That's what today's sermon was about. Loving the unloveable--in the church.

It's unfortunate that some Christians feel a certain self-righteousness and spiritual pride (a/k/a a "religious spirit") when they see a brother/sister fall on his/her face. As the pastor said today, "It's not our responsibility to sit in judgement and look for opportunities to kick someone when they're down. It's our responsibility to love them through the situation and allow God to bring the conviction."

Paul said:
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God's] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.
--Romans 12:19-20, Amplified 
What did Paul mean by "heap burning coals upon his head"? You may be thinking, that doesn't sound forgiveness--much less love. Sounds like revenge to me! Actually, it's not revenge; it's a act of love. How?

During Biblical times, it was common for people to "always keep the home fires burning" (if you will), providing warmth and a means of cooking food. It was common for people to carry things on their heads to transport them, and in some countries, people still do that. So if the home fire dwindled, they would take a brazier and go to a neighbor's house to borrow coals. A generous neighbor would fill it to the brim, helping to meet the need.

You may not feel like it, but you have to love the unloveable past your pain. God commands it: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Read and meditate: Leviticus 19:17-19; Matthew 19:18-20; and Luke 10:26-28.
Think: Who fits the bill as "unloveable"? Have I forgiven that person?
Act: Find a way to react in love.


Anonymous said...

Forgiveness. Great lesson Lillian! I have learned that to forgive is so imperative to our own overall well being. My most painful, trying & challenging times as a Christian was within a church. The pastor was not a Godly man. (Jeremiah 23:1) Evil was called Good & Good was called Evil. A lot of deception, lies, slander, which my family happened to be on the other end of. But through it all, I was able to clearly see the face of God. I cried out to Him more than ever before, & He met me at every turn. It was in those times that I came to know, without a doubt, that He IS real & His Word IS true. It's in the hard times that he changes us, through the fire, we are refined. (I actually wrote a song "You Are Real" during this time) At the end of our trials we see His provision, His mercy, His faithfulness & His plan for us more clearly than ever...making us that much stronger for the next challenge that lies ahead! I hope my comments are not too long. I have a blog as well that has been left dormant, but you have inspired me to invest more time in it. Thank you!!

Lillian Laitman-McAnally said...

Thank you so much for your words! Yes, He IS real and His words ARE truth AND life.

And you need to copyright your song! You have an amazing gift to minister through praise&worship. Belt out that song, girl, because God is singing over you!

Love you.