Over the past two days I have shared some very heartfelt and honest conversations with friends that are all facing challenges in their lives. And despite the obvious adversity they face, I see such hope as I realize that love- God's love- truly is the answer.
Life is difficult- that's a given. Even Jesus promised us that we "will have troubles". Just because we make the choice daily to be led by the Holy Spirit does not make us exempt from trials and tribulations. On the contrary- a Spirit-led life is of great concern to the enemy of our souls and is a cause for chaos in the spiritual realm. When we truly live and walk in the Spirit, we will constantly "make waves".
This is when things get tricky. It is somewhat easy to walk in love when those around you love you in return. It doesn't take much to love when you feel love. But what about when you don't feel it anymore? What happens when trust is broken, hateful things are said and you're left standing in the wake of bitterness, anger and regret? What then?
I am convinced that it is in those moments when true love is defined. Because true love, the love that is born of the Holy Spirit, is selfless. It is not about us. It chooses to look past our hurt and our feelings and see another soul that is precious in the eyes of God. True love makes the choice to be vulnerable. It sets its guard down and takes a chance on being hurt, just for the opportunity to reach someone.
The love that comes as a result of the Spirit-led life will not make sense to the world. It is the love that blossoms in the midst of hatred and revenge. It shines brightly in the darkness of death and divorce. It looks its enemy in the eye and says "I forgive." The Holy Spirit has shown me over the past two days that sometimes the greater victory is not overcoming your situation, seeing wrongs righted, or even an answer to prayer. Sometimes the greatest victory is the unexplainable selfless love that can be shown by the Spirit-led believer.
I am reminded of the story of Corrie ten Boom who selflessly forgave and loved the same Nazi soldiers who tortured her and her family in concentration camps in World War II. Many of her loved ones lost their lives because of the inhumanity and hatred of the Nazis. But Corrie understood that Jesus came and died so that she could have freedom from bitterness, anger and revenge. And she understood that the very people that she should have hated needed the love of Christ just as much as she did. What an incredible testimony of selfless love!
Love, as the Bible describes it in 1 Corinthians 13, is not easy. Actually, it is impossible...for a flawed human being like me. But I thank God that as I strive to be led by the Spirit daily and crucify my flesh, that it is NOT I, but Christ who lives within me! Only through Christ and the power of His Spirit can we show selfless love to those who have hurt us the most.
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8