One of the hardest things I have had to do recently is load and unload my car. I have had an ongoing hand problem since college. I had two surgeries in my 30’s and may be facing another soon. I’m thankful for my wonderful hand doctor, Dr. Ugino, and his nurse Monica, a lifelong friend, who have worked to treat me medically to keep me going and functioning.
Now that I have an empty nest, I have to depend on wonderfully sweet neighbors and friends to help me lift when Bill or the kids aren’t home. When traveling, I have to depend on complete strangers for help, this can be very awkward even for me (an extrovert) LOL!!! Another very hard thing to do is watch my parents suffer, something that teaches me daily. On a weekly basis I try to go to the gym and work out. My schedule is so sporadic that working out is like starting over every time I do it….leaves me sore and breathless!
But the ultimate hard thing to do is what scripture commands me to do in Luke 6:35, “But love your enemies, do good to them and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.” I would love to think I haven’t created any enemies, but I realize people can hate you for what you believe or don’t believe. Different viewpoints on scripture and things like abortion and political views can create enemies.
Sometimes when I feel my children are hurt without cause, I can perceive those “hurters” as enemies, or at least know they don’t have my kids best interest at heart……and God not only calls me to love them but to take action to DO GOOD AND LEND!! WHAT????? Seriously, here we go! Right here is a “naked moment for me,” one of those simple sentence scriptures that I have read for many, many years and kind of glazed over!!! I have had to get out the “shovel” and start to dig…….NOT FUN……at all!! I haven’t liked what I have seen….not at all…….
If you live life and are active at all, you will be hurt by others…some unintentionally and some, unfortunately, intentionally….realizing I have done the same thing (shamefully:((((( ). God says in Luke 6: 32, “IF you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from who you expect repayment what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.”
Plain and simple: we have to go against our nature and take on the nature of Christ and gain strength from HIM to live a different life. I am very weak humanly speaking. It is NOT AT ALL natural for me to love, embrace, much less do good and lend…to my enemies a.k.a. people who hurt me or my family…..The only way this is possible is for me to wage a WAR on my nature, to die to self and allow God to transform that area in my life.
I am still a work in progress but desperately want to be there….. loving my enemies……! Returning evil for evil is just not a good thing, even if the evil is not blatant, but harbored in the depths of my/ your/our heart. I don’t think I have ever been in a literal fight, but I feel at times I have been fighting with God over this small but powerful, hard scripture….CRAZY…for me to battle God about this…..I now have waved the white flag of surrender!!! I want to be different…I don’t want to react like the world or have the pat on the back anymore, “I don’t blame you for feeling that way!” NOT GOOD…….. Being different for a Christian and being a Jesus follower…is taking up the “cross” and for me, today, right now, it is loving the unloveable!! Just saying…………….!
Today, that is where I am………..I am sore….I am breathless……..but I want the “fat gone!!!” The fat of blending….the fat of justifying…..the fat of harboring……the fat of nursing the wounds……In scripture there are always great promises of obedience and the promise I am claiming is found right after the very hard scripture. Luke 6:35b-36, “Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the MOST HIGH, because HE is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
As we approach the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, Easter, I also celebrate Him sending the Holy Spirit, because that is the help I rely on to enable me to “LOVE MY ENEMIES!” In my own strength it is not possible, but I love the scripture that is oh so true, Philippians 4:13, “I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ask the Lord for help. He is able to help with the hard stuff that leaves us sore and breathless.