"But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ"
1 Corinthians 15:57
I want to BE LOVE.
Wondering what I mean? Well, here are my thoughts.
I believe that every person is born with sins that they're always going to struggle with. This can be through alcoholism, homosexuality, stubbornness, negativity, loneliness, an eating disorder and a multitude of other sins.
To say that God has challenged me in the friend department at ASU would be an understatement. Friendships that I thought would last forever have vanished. Friends that I valued have hurt me to the core. Friends that I took upon myself to pour into have ended up dragging me down. Sin has attacked many of my friendships and has attacked my view of myself. Facing the closed door of these friendships has resulted in a deep self reflection.
I've been accused of being mean, being bossy, having a judgmental attitude, of always looking like I'm in a bad mood, of being negative all the time. I want to apologize to anyone I've hurt, anyone I've wronged and anyone that has felt this way toward me. These words left me feeling so confused. The things that they were saying to me were words that I would never use to describe myself. Was I really negative all the time? Was I bossy?
It honestly made me sad. I want people to look at me and see a happy person who is trying to live like Christ. I want people to look at me and wonder, what makes that girl act the way she does? I felt bad that I wasn't portraying that, but I knew that I was happy within, so I didn't (and still don't) know how to change it.
There hasn't been a day that I haven't thought about what these people have said to me. I like to think of myself as accommodating. I always try to put others before myself when it comes to decision making. I would never define myself as negative. In an effort to not let myself get let down, I think of life realistically rather than being overly optimistic. I'd rather be pleasantly surprised than let down.
I want to BE LOVE.
As Christians I understand holding each other accountable. If there is a sin that needs to be addressed in a friend's life, I'm instructed by God to let them know about it. But attacking someone for it and then leaving them left in a mess is not, what I believe, God intended. If I believe a friend is struggling with something, I want to address it in a way that says "I'm here to help. We're all sinners and I love you no matter your flaws."
Cutting people out of your lives is the right thing to do in certain situations, but using it as an escape can end up causing more damage than good. Does the bible not say to forgive others as God forgave us?
I once heard a quote that said "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned. "
This is infinitely true. I have been hurt by friends countless times, and I've hurt them. I am FAR from perfect. I'm sure I have been some of the things that my friends have accused me of being, but I'm also a sinner. What they've said to me is in the past, GOD HAS MADE US CLEAN. Forgiveness can eat away at you, I know from experience. But as this quote says, it really hurts you more than the person you're not forgiving. I've stopped holding on, and the burns are healing.
I know that I've hurt others and I know that a lot of the things I've done have ended up hurting me in the end. I'm not happy go lucky. I'm not going to grin from ear to ear all the time. But I want everyone to know that I am overflowing with the joy of the Lord! I can't change my personality, but I can wake up each morning with the intentions of honoring God in EVERY aspect of my life. I want every spec of my being to radiate his LOVE. I want to BE LOVE.
My devotion this morning spoke volumes to me. I want it to be a guide for my lifestyle. It read: 1 John 3:18-24
"Dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality. It's also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.
And friends, once that's taken care of and we're no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we're bold and free before God! We're able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we're doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God's command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us."
I am thankful for the lessons on friendship that God is continually teaching me. I'm not perfect. I'm just a rental space for the holy spirit of the Lord. But as I live, learn, am hurt, am broken, am healed, I want to BE LOVE, the love of the Lord.