To Understand, or to Love?

I’ve been praying about a mystery in our family, seeking the Lord for answers with regards to specific pain.  But do I need to understand or am I commanded to love?

Faith always requires action, so after a time of prayer I acted but received a different response than what I expected.  

This was both exciting and heart wrenching.  Exciting, because in faith I expected a miracle.  Heart breaking, because the answer I received was predictable and no miracle was apparent.

Right away my heart groaned inside of me, it rolled around on the floor like a body who had been stabbed in the stomach.  The answer I was given hurt so much I felt my whole body begin to spiral downward into a black hole where I finally curled up in the fetal position.  The next stage of grief found me paralyzed, unable to think or move.  My first emotional reaction was to conclude I had been wronged.

My spiritual reaction with the help of Jesus was that someone expressed their opinion and it was different than mine, that is all.  Of course it isn’t that simple, but it is – if we allow Jesus to do the work.  When we try too hard to figure something out we can tell ourselves we are trying to understand the situation or we can be honest and recognize we are merely trying to make someone else into someone we can tolerate. 

Is it understanding we should seek or the ability to love?

I stuffed clothes in the washing machine and folded the dry items on top the dryer.  My arms and hands worked methodically while my emotions were hosting a wild bucking horse rodeo.  Their little fits tried to assure me my pain was justifiable but my lips refused to join their charade and in the following silence I heard the Holy Spirit speak instead.  “Although your initial act of faith is commendable, your response to the outcome is selfish.” Ouch.

When someone disagrees with you, they are giving a different opinion than the one you were hoping to hear.  Do you think you have the right to decide whether their reply was correct or not?  Besides, if you do –  how will you determine that?  Are you immediately attaching their answer to something in the past because you see a pattern and that pattern helps you make sense of it all?  Who are we to know?  Even if we had a PHD in Psychology, only God can see the heart. Why do we continually hold our friends and family in a constant state of limbo?   God doesn’t!

When we hear a person’s answer (opinion) and we don’t like it, one of the first things we do is base the outcome on their past reputation?  Our past and their past is only important for one thing and one thing only – what God has done for us!  If we have been redeemed, never should our focus be on who we once were, or who they once were!  Our focus should always be on who He is!  

This truth must be applied every day of our life.  When people disappoint us, even hurt us, even to the point of death, we do not have license to justify our pain through judgement.  We do not need to understand, we are commanded to love. 

Our natural, sinful approach disguises itself as justice but is really self-righteousness and the outcome can only be retaliation.  If we are new in Christ, our response is grace with an overflow of love.

Interesting… how we struggle to accept His grace.  Generally speaking, it takes the human race a long time to grasp the truth that we cannot earn God’s grace and even longer to see that grace is given out in the same measure to everyone!  It is that bent that explains why we always expect others’ to earn acceptance.   

We are moved to the core when we begin to embrace His grace and yet still so slow to offer it to others – especially family. 

Somewhere deep inside where a speck of darkness still resides, we continue to expect them to earn our approval.

Ultimately our relationships on this planet will only grow and flourish if we live a life focused on Christ.  As we get to know Him we are transformed.  He does not require understanding but that we love Him with our heart, mind and soul and love our neighbors as we love our self.
Luke 10:27

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