by Bill NeSmith
God has told us to love so well as to love even our enemies. Scripture tells us that loving God’s way will restore what we have lost AND even give a way for our healing to take place. God even gives us promises to encourage us to do right. Recorded in Luke 6:28, Jesus goes the extra measure and tells us to, “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” If we would like restored fortunes, healings, and more, then it is important that we all respond to those around us correctly.
In order to create the environment for these promises to take place we must also understand what hinders these promises and also what paves the way for a continuous and proper flow of God’s favor. We must love others and loving others requires us to remember three basic facts. People are different, people are broken, and people want to be loved.
People are Different
People are different from you and you are different from them. There are some that who will like you and some who never will. Some who are just like you and some that are miles apart from who God has made you. Some who are agreeable and some who are set to be difficult. There are some who fold easily and some who will never bend or change. God made us all different and life has made us all different. God works with all of us and tells us to love our enemies. Sometimes responding to an enemy is easier than that friend who surprised you by their actions. In all of this, God has a design for all of us and He seeks a life of unity that does not slip easily into conformity that perverts His plans for us.
The Apostle Paul saw the world in simple terms – saved and unsaved, Jew and Gentile. In the recently released movie called, ‘American Sniper’, the main character’s father divided the world into thirds – ‘sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs’. Wolves surely don’t like the sheepdog, but often the sheepdog is not liked by the sheep either. We all come from our own backgrounds and perspectives with varying amounts of baggage and opinions. Others are different from us.
People are Broken
Jesus came because people are broken. We are all broken, both you and I. Jesus said in Mark 2:17, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Yes, we are made righteous through Christ and it is Him formed in us which is our ‘hope of glory.’ (Col. 1:27)
The fruit, or residual effect, of Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives contains love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Holy Spirit helps us interact well and walk in Love. Without Him, we are simply broken when we focus on unmet expectations, disappointments, differences, failed commitments, promises or plans. Apart from ‘God Love’ filling us, we remain sorely broken and in need of a physician. In Francis Frangipane’s book The Three Battlegrounds, he rightly summed up our areas of struggle as The Mind, the Church, and the Heavenly Places. People are not our problem – but how we respond to them surely can be.
People Want to be Loved
Some of the most hardened people I’ve ever met, at first interaction, seemed difficult and to be feared. Only after pressing in have I found them to be like all other people – needing and wanting love. Because people are broken, and can be void of the Lord’s Spirit within them, their concept of Love and their search for Love may not be the ideal, but love in any selfless fashion is a world changing force. Some of the hottest fuel for a person’s negative reaction is past hurts and the fear of being hurt again. In order to love and live a ‘God Life’, we must press through fear of rejection and failure and love God’s way.
Love covers a multitude of Sin. Taking the word OTHER as an acronym, I want to encourage us all to LOVE Others to Heal Every Remembered (or recorded) Sin. Jesus said, in, Matthew 6:14-15,
‘For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.’
The Blessings of Loving Others Correctly
The following are two powerful examples of how our response to those who are not so agreeable, can turn out for our own abundant blessing and health. Let us not forget that God is honored by our actions and we can bring Him great joy.
God surely knows our humanity and because He knows we need to be provoked at times He has given us reason again to do right. He has given us an example of His blessed promises, simply to encourage us to do right. Anyone who knows the story of Job, knows that he was sorely afflicted and mocked by both his wife and friends. Job’s victory came with a double portion as recorded in Job 42:10.
‘The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold.’
When, and I believe only when, Job responded rightly could God declare that Job was truly an honorable and righteous man – and He then gave Job back more than all that was stolen from him.
Next, we see that healing comes and our response to others directly affects the Lord’s response to us.
‘Therefore, confess your sins to one another (be open and real), and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.’ (James 5:16)
So, be provoked…
’Let us firmly hold the profession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to spur (provoke) one another to love and to good works. Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but let us exhort one another, especially as you see the Day approaching.’
(Heb. 10:23-25 MEV)