Headaches are the worst – all the throbbing pulsating agony within your head. There are times nothing you do can make it better. You take a few Tylenol, rub your temples, or drink some water, but nothing helps. You can’t concentrate enough to think straight and everything in your life comes grinding to a halt as your head just aches.
It’s amazing how easily we can be taken out of the action. We may be able to push through other types of pain and stay somewhat productive and functional, but there is always something which pushes the “off” button in our lives. When that happens, we can’t do what needs to be done.
Here’s a case in point: your ability to love others. There are some people you love no matter what, but there are other people you won’t love until some condition is met. Who are these people you have selectively chosen not to love? They are the ones who have hurt you, let you down, and couldn’t be counted on when you thought you could. It’s the people who have stabbed you in the back when you thought they were covering it. The very people who said they would love you, be devoted to you, and be by your side and they weren’t. There’s something about some people which gets in the way of loving them, and you are turned “off” by them. You don’t love them, and can’t; or maybe you just won’t!
Do you struggle with this? If so, your problem is thinking the fruit of the Spirit type love is a natural love, and it isn’t. Natural love is selective, and available when someone meets your conditions. The type of love spoken of in Galatians 5:22 is the same love which puts others before yourself, loves your neighbor, and especially……your enemy. That type of love is not natural. If you want to love as the Bible commands, you will have to strive for a love above and beyond what you are capable of. The love of Galatians 5:22 is not attainable through your own personal power to love.
When Stephen is stoned in Acts 7:59-60, he prays for God to forgive those who are hurling rocks at him with the intent to kill him. What kind of extraordinary man prays for those who are putting him to death instead of praying for himself or for the judgment of God on his attackers? Jesus did the same thing, and since He is our model, it would be wise to follow the model.
I know, I know. You want to tell me how I don’t understand what people have done to you, and how you just can’t love them. Here’s your problem, Christian – your model endured far worse than you will ever know and loved enough to die for the sins of those who unjustly accused Him, called for His death, and even those who loved Him but left Him at His darkest hour……….think about it!
The type of love the fruit of the Spirit speaks about can love anyone, no matter what. If you have people in your life you need to forgive, then do it. When you can forgive someone, you are freed to love them instead of harboring bitterness, regret, and the pain of the past. If you want freedom, then ask your LORD to help you forgive them and love them like He does. You may be amazed at what THAT type of love can do in others and in your own life.