love & forgiveness.

as my church is wrapping up its sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, i've been thinking about what has impacted me most about the teachings. Jesus tells us here to love our enemies, and to forgive those who sin against us. i have struggled with these two things my whole life, like everyone else, but i have really been striving to understand what he means, & how it's even possible to do this.

previous romantic relationships that ended badly have a strong hold on me. i hold grudges against certain men for hurting me, for abandoning me, for not loving me. this is something i am completely broken by - i feel guilty still caring because i am married to the only man i have ever known that i would want to be married to. for some reason though, this doesn't eradicate the leftover pain of rejection i have from some of my former relationships. this very struggle of mine, however, has led to an interesting learning platform regarding forgiveness & love of your enemies.

have you ever seen (500) Days of Summer? this movie could have been written about the relationship i had before meeting Brandon, except he was Summer, and i was Tom. it was excruciating, never being enough for him, and always being uncertain - hopes rising, and hopes dashed. & exhausting. i have harbored bitterness for him ever since. i would have preferred to believe that he was just incapable of love - except, like Summer, he was engaged shortly after we quit dating.

fast forward to a couple months ago: i am brought to my knees in humility by his fiancee. she very graciously invited me to an event at their home that i was dying to go to, and then treated me like a guest of honor in their home. she has shown me nothing but kindness, and although it was a little awkward for him, for me, & for Brandon, the evening was very pleasant. when i look back at it, and when i observe the degree of friendliness the 4 of us now share, i'm honestly ashamed of myself. not ashamed for being hurt - no, i think that was justified - but ashamed of my hatefulness towards another human being. not only that, but displacing my anger towards him onto his fiancee, who had never given me any reason not to like her, besides being the object of his love. but i am ashamed that although i know Jesus, and i love him, and i strive to follow him every day, i would not obey his command to love my enemy, & forgive those who have sinned against me.

this new road of friendship with them has given me cause for a lot of self-examination, and made me scared, doubtful, and wary - but over all of that, it has given me an incredible sense of peace. i no longer harbor disdain, bitterness, and anger in my heart. i am free now, thanks to Jesus, and it feels great.

as much as i love my husband, and as perfect & wonderful as he is, he is not the end-all-be-all like i thought he would be. i still need Jesus. i still long for him to fulfill me and to heal me. he has given me a good gift - the best gift - a righteous, strong, gentle, loving man to treasure me and cherish me and to share life with me, but he is not meant to replace Jesus.

so now i am free to love my enemies, free to surrender myself to Jesus in every way, and free to love my husband more fully because there is nowhere in my heart that i'm holding back from him.

Jesus is so smart. :)

1 comment:

  1. Man, this is good. I truly understand and relate. Pain is awful, especially when it is justified. But because love is so pure, it makes everything else drown out...including our own pride and our own selfishness. It makes us fall to our knees out of humility.