In the book of John there are words of great encouragement that Jesus gives to the disciples because He is preparing them for what is going to come. One of my favorites is from 15th chapter of John: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 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. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masters business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command; Love each other.”
“Love each other” Easy to say but really hard too do. Jesus is not talking about those that we love easily like our family and friends. Jesus is talking about those who are hard for us to love. Maybe someone has gossiped about you and told stories untrue. It might be that person who is always difficult to be around the negativity seems to ooze from their pores. It just might be someone who you feel that you can never measure up too; you can never do anything right in their eyes. For some it might be parents who have hurt them and broke their tender hearts so long ago. The pain is real and it runs so deep.
Why is it so hard to love these people? I think it is because if we love someone we have to forgive them and many of us do not want too. I think sometimes we have the wrong ideas about forgiveness. If you forgive someone it doesn’t mean that what they did is now okay. What they have done to you is now being released into Gods’ hands for Him to take care of. God requires us to forgive, so that we can be forgiven.
Forgiveness is not based upon our feelings, we may feel the hurt and pain for many years, but we can forgive because it is an act of our will.
We are never alone in our forgiveness, Jesus is right there beside us giving the strength to forgive, even if the one we are forgiving doesn’t care or want our forgiveness.Forgiveness frees us up to live and love as God created us to do.