Blessed With a Burden
(7 minute read)
Hi loves! Happy Friday! I don’t know about you, but this has been a long week. If you can relate, guess what, we made it (does the Sean Payton dance)! Lol!
So lets chat…This week, I experienced a hurtful, but necessary lesson on life. In doing so, I realized something about myself, and that is, my relationship with Jesus is solid. I have known for a while that He was making major changes inside of me, but I did not understand the magnitude. Since I have had this epiphany, I want to take today to talk from everyone’s favorite wedding passage in the Bible–1 Corinthians 13:4-8. As always, I will quote the NKJV. It says, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity; but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Again, these verses are normally thought about in the context of a romantic relationship, but I want to stretch our thinking to make this apply to all of our relationships. I mean, I actually think that is what God intended, since it does not mention a bride and groom. Yes, it is the perfect scripture for a couple, but it is also the perfect scripture for life. I want you to take a minute to think about each of your relationships. Think about those you have today, and those that you no longer have. Now, ask yourself if any of these people have ever done something to hurt you. For most of us, if we no longer have a relationship with the person today, it can be attributed to an issue that took place between us. Some of us can even say we have been hurt by those who we are still in contact with presently. Either way, focus on the hurt for a second. How did you react to the person? How do you feel right now, as you recall what took place? Hold that thought for a moment…
“For I have known him, that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord” (Genesis 18:19). What is “the way of the Lord” exactly? Well, the Bible says that God is love, and anyone that does not know love, does not know Him (1 John 4:8). This means, whatever His way is, it will certainly include love, since He is love. At this point, I think it is safe to say that parents have the task of helping us learn what love is, and in doing so, we find God, since, according to the scripture they are one in the same. Whew chile! That’s a mouthful in itself, but stay with me.
The Bible says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you” (Jeremiah 1:5). Sanctified means to set apart as or declare holy. God formed us in the womb, meaning He chose whose womb we would be in. Before He put us there, though, He sanctified us. He gave our parents the task of raising us to know love, which is God. Leaving us to find Him, and live up to the sanction He put on us before birth. Does all of that make sense? Basically, I went around the world to say that our parents are charged with the task of teaching us to love, first. If they succeed, we find God, because He and love are synonymous. If they fail, or miss the mark somewhere, so do we, in that, we also miss the mark of where our relationship should be with God.
I am blessed to have parents who succeeded. They taught me about God, and showed me love. In doing so, God lives within me, and I can spread Him to others. If I am spreading Him, what is it that I am also able to spread? Yep, you guessed it! Love! Unfortunately, however, there are many people today who cannot say the same. Instead, they got little to no God, or the watered down version that teaches nothing other than routine. Meaning, their parents’ parents taught them that going to church is mandatory, so now they teach their kids the same. Just go, and believe the word you hear because that is what we are supposed to. Parents like this completely minimized God. Yes, you took your child to church, but you were not the church. When they saw your actions or interactions, they did not see God. They saw routine. The product of these types of parents are children who do not Know God, and thereby do not know love.
What is interesting about life is that those who know Him, and know how to love, almost always encounter those that do not. They attach to us, and the more love we show, the more pain they inflict. Remember in the beginning when I asked you how you reacted to the person that hurt you? I asked this because I wanted to know if your instinct was to get angry and dismiss them. While that is an understandable reaction, and the world teaches us to cut off people who spite us, what if those of us who learned love continued to love, just like God does? What if God is sending us these types of people in order to make up for what did not take place from their parents? Even though God sanctifies, we still have free choice. For every parent that missed the opportunity to properly teach their child how to love, there are parents who succeeded. That is not a coincidence loves! Nothing with God is! Since He could not catch them on the front end, He still has them covered at the back, by crossing paths with the opposite.
I firmly believe that those of us who succeeded at being set apart have been blessed by God with the burden of loving those who have failed. Yes, it hurts to constantly be taken for granite or for people to mistreat you when all you are doing is trying to love them, but it is also a blessing. Think about how hard it is to be ugly to a nice person. Now, think about how hurt these people must be if they can hurt you. What does dismissing them solve? I am by no means saying to just take anything a person throws at you, or stay in relationships that are hurting you. What I am saying, however, is that before you put some distance, leave them better than you found them. Not everyone will change, and that is okay. However, you have done your part to show them who God really is. We as believers have the responsibility of living as Christ would.
That is what 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is telling us. “Suffer and show kindness. Do not inflate yourself when they are proven wrong. Do not rejoice when they are hurt.” That means, do not tell them that karma is a B, and coming back to get them, or quote the verse that God will make your enemies your footstool. That does nothing but turn them against love more. Which makes sense, because here you are saying you are Godly, and you love them, and when they make a mistake you are cursing them. That is not what those verses were intended for. “Do not behave rudely.” You do not have to go cursing them out or telling them mean things. They already do not believe love exists, and doing that just proved love has conditions, which automatically makes them say God does as well. This, in turn, pushes them further from Him. There are no conditions with God. He forgave the people that shot dice for His clothes, and hammered nails into his hands and feet, and even asked His Father to bless them. Surely, you can do the same! “Love hopes all things, and endures all things.” Basically, empathize with a person. People are not born evil, they become it. Understand how hard it is to accept love when you are now 30, and have never received it before. Love would be foreign to you. Orcas, known as killer whales, have a certain communication that they speak to each other, letting them know what pod, or family they belong to. This helps them to know who is prey and who is safe. If you are meeting someone whose communication has never had anything to do with love and family, and you are a human care bear, more than likely you will become prey. That’s okay though, because God blessed you with the burden of spreading His word, and letting His light shine through you. He never promised that everyone would change because of you. Your job is to keep being who you are. Your obedience may not win every soul, but you will get every blessing God has intended for you. Guess what loves? If you win one soul in the process, your burden was not in vain.
So to the people that hurt you, love them anyway. If they come asking for forgiveness, forgive them again. I do not care if it is forgiveness number 1,234,567. Forgive, and spread love. It is you who are called, because you were sanctified and groomed correctly to do so. When you encounter those that were not, stand in the gap for them. Pray for them and bless them. Allow 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 to saturate your heart. Turning to God should always be the solution in any life issue. If that’s the solution, what automatically is as well? Love.
Let me pray for you:
Father, strengthen those of us blessed with the burden to love unconditionally. We know you have a purpose for everything that you do. When you send those who need to see what real love is, give us the perseverance to show them. Bless those that curse us. Change the hearts of those that hurt us. Help us to be an example to those that do not know you, and your love. Break the walls down in the hearts of those that are afraid to accept love. Let your light shine through our hearts, and give us the room to forgive as many times as you require. We ask this in your son Jesus’ name. Amen.
xoxo my loves