Love is an Act of Trust
Apr 25, 2017 // By:Sue Cadieux // 3 comments
Have you ever been hurt? I don’t mean the physical hurt of breaking a bone, burning yourself as you take something out of the oven, or cutting yourself by accident. I mean the emotional hurt that someone has caused you. We as women tend to be ruled by emotions which leads us to feel this emotional hurt probably more often than we would like to admit.
You find out a co-worker is talking behind your back, a relative tells you that you don’t know how to raise your children, or a “friend” makes a bad choice which affects your friendship. How about social media? Texting, Facebook, and Twitter have become a means for people to post things that can be offensive and downright hurtful. Sometimes people do it without even realizing it. Honestly this whole social media and texting world we live in leads to a lot of misinterpretation and the inability to communicate with one other on a face to face basis. But that’s another soap box for another time.
Back to the topic at hand. How do you react when someone hurts you? I don’t know about you, but typically my first response is a flesh response, meaning I don’t think, I don’t pray, and I don’t let the Holy Spirit guide my thoughts and actions. Is this how God wants us to act?
In John 13:34-35, Jesus Himself tells us this: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” God says love should be our response (it’s to be the “enter key” on the keyboard of our mind)
Let’s take a good look at Romans 12:9-21. Yes, a bit of a long passage to read, but there is no way to condense this message down without leaving out an important point. This first half of the book (Chapters 1-11) tells us what to believe. The second half of the book (chapters 12-16) instructs us on how to behave. If you haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and read the book of Romans, I would encourage you to do so.
Rom 12:9-21: “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
As you read this passage, did you notice how Paul is demonstrating that love is an action not an emotion? This was something I needed to wrap my brain around: “What do you mean love is not an emotion?” As women we are full of emotions and I think we tend to tie the word “love” into those emotions. We think of warm fuzzy feelings when our husband tells us “I love you” or when our children give us hugs. Paul is writing to describe actual actions or behaviors that demonstrate love. So love is something that you can do which produces the emotion. Throughout the bible, God commands us to love each other and you can’t command an emotion. You can’t be sad or be mad just because someone tells you to.
Remember how we noticed that Romans was broken down into two sections: chapters 1-11 = “what to believe” followed by chapters 12-16 = “what to do with that belief” ? This is because Paul (led by the Holy Spirit) knew that you have to think God’s way before you can do it God’s way (with God’s power).
So what are your first thoughts when reading these verses? “Ok God, no problem, I can handle this! This is easy! I can be patient in times of trouble, I can live in harmony with everyone and I can bless those who persecute me.”
I don’t know about you, but my first thoughts when reading this were, “Lord, this is hard! I desperately need your help to live out these verses. There is no way I can do this on my own.” (Zech 4:6, Phil 4:13)
Let’s think for a moment what the world would be like if everyone lived the way Jesus tells us to. There would be no conflict, no fights or arguments, no wars. It would be a peaceful world to live in, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, we can’t control the world, but we can control our own actions, can’t we?
I love Rom 12:21 which tells us “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Can I get a big AMEN on this one?
Yesterday, as I was going into the Dunkin Donuts drive-through, someone in another car starting beeping his horn at me and waving his hands in a very unloving manner. Apparently without realizing it, I must have cut him off and he became angry. My first thought was, “take a chill pill dude, you will get your coffee soon enough!” My second thought was to “return the hand gestures and to beep back at him”. But I didn’t. Instead, I chose to pay for his coffee and told the woman at the window to tell the man to “Have a blessed day!” I drove away feeling good about what I had done, when that situation could have started my day off in a foul mood. Thank you Lord for prompting me to do this as my flesh did not want to do it. Now this is a pretty simple example of how to live as God wants us to. But it’s a start.
“Let’s be honest. It takes a lot of humility to live this way. Notice that Paul never says, ‘Do this because it is fair and what you deserve’. In fact it is just the opposite. Why we do this goes back to verse one, which says, ‘to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.’” (Melissa Taylor -bible study teaching going along with Live, Love Repeat bible study)
“Are you hurting right now?
Has someone done you wrong?
When going through a difficult situation we are all going to have tough choices to make such as:
- to bless those who persecute you (v.14)
- to live in harmony with others (v.16)
- to not repay evil with evil (v.17)”
And how about one more verse to make us really think?
Luke 6:35 – “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.” (NLT)
Love my enemies? Seriously? Be nice and expect nothing in return? Not even a simple smile or a thank you? Say what?? But let’s think about our enemies, the ones that have hurt us or others that we love. We have to remember ladies, they are NOT the enemy! Satan is in the enemy working through the others in our lives (Eph 6:12, 2 Cor 10:3-5). This is a perspective that I try to remember time and time again, over and over again when someone wrongs me. Many of these people don’t have Jesus as their Savior therefore the enemy is definitely using them in our lives to throw us off course.
In Karen Ehman’s book “Live, Love Repeat, she has a section titled “How to Hug a Porcupine and Squeeze a Skunk” I just love these descriptions of people that are difficult to love. Karen asks:
“Do you know someone who is difficult to love? The nosy neighbor. The grouchy grocery store clerk. Your child’s teacher who never cracks a smile. The hot-tempered boss. The church curmudgeon.” I am sure we all have people like this in our lives. “Hugging porcupines and squeezing skunks is not for the faint of heart!”
We need to remember that we love others out of obedience to God and to show the love of Christ to those around us. We need to trust God in these circumstances and pray that He will help us to reflect Him in our actions to everyone we come in contact with. Yes, even the grouchy store clerk that can’t smile when you say “Hello”.
Loving others requires trust in God. Love is an act of trust.
“These are not easy instructions to live by, unless we are living connected to Jesus. And even then, its not easy but it is possible! Apart from Him we can do nothing and with Him all things are possible that’s our hope in this world.“ Melissa Taylor
John 15:5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”