I can’t believe God is teaching me so much about love on Valentine’s Day! It started yesterday when I went to a cancer support group that teaches patients how to look better. The woman I sat by was really nice and proud of herself for how well she’d been dealing with the cancer. I have no idea why, but instead of building her up, my heart was hard to her and I engaged in a verbal competition to make sure she knew that she wasn’t any more special than the rest of us. The details aren’t important, besides that I was completely wrong. It seemed like I was being really nice, but my intentions were way off.
I am a firm believer that everyone wants to feel special, it’s just the things that make them feel that way differ. This woman wanted–needed–to be bolstered for the bravery she displayed through the course of her illness, and I didn’t give it to her. It might be that she was arrogant and self-dependent and God doesn’t like that. But it’s not my business to put her in her place. 1 Cor 5:12 says, “What business it is of mine to judge those outside the church?”.
Instead of subtly putting people down, we shoulld be building them up. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34
Not only did God put me in my place by the shame of what I did, He also used it to answer other prayers. I have been extremely concerned lately about “losing” my healing. It was on my mind constantly and I had been pushing a lot of fears away that were succesfully stealing my joy. I knew satan was ruining everything but I couldn’t figure out exactly what to do. I was afraid that if I made a wrong move He would punish me and the cancer would return. I was feeling like I’d be looking over my shoulder forevermore, which effectively made me fear cancer (and thus, satan), more than God. I knew that wasn’t the way to go but didn’t know what was. Then the spirit showed me the answer!
John 15:9-12, “As the Father loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (I was healed because He LOVES me! Now, how do I “keep” my healing?) It continues, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: LOVE EACH OTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.”
Following Christ isn’t about treading lightly as not to stir up the wrath of God. It’s not about doing good things to stay on the “nice” list. It’s about love. The love He showed by His sacrifice. By the abundance of love He gives us, our hearts should overflow with peace, love, joy, and gratitude. If they don’t, we’re doing something wrong. I was.
I hope and pray that everyone who reads this will be consumed by love today and always. You’ve all made a difference in my life so let’s see how loving more can make a big impact on even more people, and ourselves!