I’ve settled on the belief that my finite mind cannot yet fully grasp the entirety of God’s infinite love. I’ve also come to the conclusion that if we’ll ever love the way God loves, we’ll have to forgive the way God forgives. There’s no getting around this fact and no reducing it to fit our dwarfed desires to love the way we’d prefer, to love in a way that requires less of us, demands less sacrifice. Desiring any less is ultimately contrary to the love and will of God. The bible tells us that God IS love, and He so loved the world that He gave. What DID He give? Christ’s very life was the price that was paid. So, we see that love doesn’t just give; love dies. HEART CHECK: As Annie Lobert mused: You think you have passion but aren’t willing to suffer for another? Real passion dies for someone!
Do you love others to death, even those who hurt you most? Is your desire for restoration stronger than your desire for vindication? Dan Allender defines bold love as “a movement of grace to embrace those who have sinned against us” and “a commitment to do whatever it takes (apart from sin) to bring health (salvation)” to those who’ve harmed us most. HEART CHECK: Who are you loving boldly? Who are you depending on GOD to help you love? Do you desire to meet those who’ve pierced you deepest with an embrace that yearns for their restoration?
There IS no middle ground. Either we desire those who’ve hurt us be utterly destroyed by God’s fiery wrath or we desire that they be absolutely restored by His flaming love. HEART CHECK: Do I want this person, as terrible as their actions may have been, to be destroyed or to be restored? God’s heart is bent toward restoration. He loves. He forgives. He restores.
God sees the worst in us and forgives; He sees the worst, and yet He loves. I’m convinced we can’t love the best in people until we can forgive the worst in them, because even their best is filthy rags compared to a holy God! When I choose to love you, I’m choosing to love something born in sin and shaped in iniquity. How dare I then recoil from the sacrifice love demands of me? Love requires us to exchange our desire to see revenge for an equally strong desire to see redemption. Proverbs 10:12 says love covers all wrongs, and 1 Peter 4:8 says love each other because love covers a multitude of sins. HEART CHECK: Who’s done wrong by you? Who’s sinned against you, and how are you covering them? Love covers.
NEXT STEPS: Young Adult Ministry Training
I can’t think of one person I genuinely love where I don’t have to submit my selfish desires in order to fully connect or reconnect with them. Love is built on a foundation of willingness to subject our will to the will of another, and not just any other, submission to the will of God. Letting this mind be in us, which is also in Christ Jesus, means adopting GOD’S view of others. God loves the people you can’t stand. Ask Him to show others to you in the way HE sees them, so you can love and forgive the way He does. The video below shows the steps to a 30-second forgiveness exercise many have found helpful. Pray about whom God wants you to forgive, and know that sometimes it begins with self-forgiveness.