February insists that we contemplate Love, Loving, and all the sickly-sweet feel-good thoughts that are supposed to go along with Valentine's Day. But what if you’re just not feeling it? What if people have let you down? What if you’re angry and unable to drum up a droplet of love inside your Grinch-sized tiny heart?
You know, I’ve been there a time or two…or three. Whatever.
However, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter. You can still love that prickly person. You can find forgiveness for those who’ve hurt you. Most of all, you can be free of the burden of resentment. Keep reading, and I’ll share with you what I’ve learned.
A lifetime of learning to love
In my 50+ years, I’ve had friends and lost friends. I’ve been treated poorly by relatives, unfriended for various reasons, made people mad, and have gone for long periods with absolutely no friends to speak of.
In nearly every incident, the Lord has been able to take me on the journey of understanding, accepting, and finally, true forgiveness. It’s a process, I’m not going to lie. And yes, you can work through it on your own. You can seek counseling or therapy. I’m the last person to tell you that you shouldn’t. But…when we invite the Lord along on this journey, the insights and revelations come so much easier.
He doesn’t wish for us to be burdened with anger, hurt, and bitterness.
I don’t want to be burdened with these things, do you?
Then, are you with me in trying to find a way to deal with people who are difficult to get along with? It’s possible. I’ve experienced it on several occasions.
Sometimes, trying to love others leaves a few wounds.
How about those people whose sharp tongues leave gaping holes in your heart? Yeah…
What about people who criticize your dreams, maybe even your successes? Yeah…
Gossiping. Sarcastic. You name it, right? We’ve all dealt with some form of prickly person or another. Perhaps some we call friends… maybe not.
Instead of slipping on your best tennis shoes so you can run away fast, I’m going to ask you to pause a moment and consider a few things I’ve learned along the way.
So…How can we help without being shredded to pieces?
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22:37-40. MSG
It’s expected of us. Even when it’s hard. But, honestly? It doesn’t have to be all that hard. It starts with knowing yourself, and loving yourself enough to stand against whatever comes your way because you know who you are in the Lord. (That’s why I say we need His help in all this)
Along with that, I have a few other suggestions that will help…
How Can We Love Others Anyway?
The Ripple Effect
As we turn our attention off ourselves and our personal needs and desires to get more and have more, we can share the love of God with people around us. We can make a difference in this world. Things are not doomed to failure. This is not a lost cause. As long as we remain here, there is hope for the world. The hope is YOU.
As I was writing this, I realized that this is the theme I’ve been working through in the Chronicle of Alburnium series Phoenix Province. Funny how that works. It’s all about looking past yourself and learning to love others, even when you’ve been hurt, scarred, and depleted. We can do it because as believers, we have a loving Lord standing beside us to help us along the way.
This is a lesson both Rillion and Sterlyn must learn, though in different ways.
Rillion must learn to believe in herself and her calling.
Sterlyn must learn that there is more for us than we can ever dream of if we will open our eyes and hearts to the possibilities before us.
Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers. Gal. 6:10
When we look to the needs of others, God will take care of what we need. He will always have our backs. This is promised all through the Bible.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
So, I hope if you’ve read this far, you’ll find more joy in this Valentine’s season and be able to love with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your spirit.
Be blessed dear friends,
Author & Artist Jackie Castle