What do you do when someone very near and dear to you is offended, hurt, and angry because you are acting out your beliefs? What do you do when you’re unjustly accused and judged? When your actions appear to have been misinterpreted…by someone you love beyond measure?
Once again, I am up against the fact that my love will always be inadequate. It will always fall short in some way or in some instance. The only thing I can do is trust my loved ones to His love. I must continually humble myself and ask that He continue to teach me to disappear, that the only Love that is perfect will shine more and more clearly, as the days and trials continue.
Is love meant to be exclusive? Did Jesus ever encounter a set of enemies…and love (in action and words) both of them? I think He had to have, human nature being what it is…and His nature being what it is.
But were both parties able to feel and acknowledge His love? That is what I don’t know. What “enemies” (of anyone) show up during the time of Jesus?
Most of the Pharisees didn’t seem to be able to feel His love, even though He loved them enough to ask God to forgive them…even though he met with one face to face and spoke the ultimate words of love to him, that He was about to give His life for that Pharisee. That indicates his willingness to reach out and minister to one of His own “enemies.” I wonder if Nicodemus felt Jesus’ love, even as he was part of the group plotting His death? Was that what caused him to seek Jesus out?
Are there any stories of pairs of enemies who came to Him? I remember those who brought the woman caught in adultery…He certainly reached out in love to the one who was obviously in the wrong…but maybe this isn’t an accurate example either.
Did everyone feel the love that was there for them? Did the Pharisees? Did the soldiers who cast lots for His garments? Did Pilate? Did the high priest? Or how about those who weren’t his enemies? Did all 5,000 whom he fed feel His love? Or did some of them merely come to see and hear the latest attraction? What about all those shouting Hosanna?
It doesn’t seem that they all did. Some, at least, were deceived to the point that they couldn’t see that love for what it really was, or else they did feel it but were somehow still able to reject it…and Him. Or else…something, for I doubt many still believed in His love when they were shouting “crucify Him.”
And that leads me to an uncomfortable realization. If even the love of Jesus in the flesh could be overlooked, missed, ignored, and rejected…then my love can be, too.
Even if Jesus’ love did shine through me perfectly…it would not always be received. For whatever reason, it…and I…can count on rejection. Even rejection of love. Even rejection because of love.
Lord, teach me to count the cost. To follow Your ways no matter the cost. Open the eyes of my heart to know how to love like You, but please also teach me to rest in Your love and sufficiency for me in situations like this. Give me the grace to love those who love me, and love those who hate me, and love those who are hated by those I love, and love those who hate those I love…for I know that is what You do. Enable me to recognize and reject bitterness and anger and offense in my own heart. I am willing to walk this painful path and learn what lessons You have planned for me in this season. And I am willing to hold onto You, no matter what You allow to be taken away from me.