There is an old saying that has become very popular in our culture “all is fair in love and war.” This used to be a cliché that didn’t mean much to me until I experienced just how unfair love can be. Let’s be honest: love is not always fair. I would even venture to say that love is NEVER fair. Making constant attempts to love someone (a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or even a close friend) whose battles with their own demons manifest in your relationship can drain you dry if you let it. Yes, God called us to love unconditionally, but how can you continue loving someone who has hurt you?
Honestly guys, this has been my biggest struggle as I have become closer to God. I know so many people who had to learn this lesson early in life - many of them had parents who suffered from drug addictions and/or a host of other issues. Learning to forgive and walk in love came later in life for me. It wasn’t until I became a wife that I learned what it really means to walk in love. I will be the first one to tell you that IT IS SO HARD.
Let me reveal to you one of the enemy’s greatest tricks: he convinces people that allowing other people’s actions to torment and consume them is a way of showing strength. For a long time, I did not want to let go and hand my marriage over to God because I felt that I deserved the right to be angry. Like so many people, I thought that I was showing just how tough I really was by not letting one single thing go unnoticed or forgotten – which ultimately left me consumed with bitterness, and eventually lead to depression. Every time I look back on that season in my life, I just have to give God praise for delivering me from the enemy’s confusion. If you buy into what I am telling you, I promise you that the Holy Spirit will keep you in perfect peace!
Maybe you have parents that neglected or abused you. Maybe you even have a former or current spouse who has done the same. Whoever your loved one is, and whatever your situation is, you have to realize that loving past the hurt has very little to do with them, but EVERYTHING to do with you. You have to love yourself enough to give yourself permission to be happy in spite of what state that person is in, or how they treat you. I am in no way telling you to be a doormat, and by all means, if you are in an abusive relationship, then GET OUT! (That is NOT God’s will!) The question is: what happens after you get out? Bitterness, anger, and depression are not physical states; therefore they can’t be erased simply by changing your physical location. You have to make a conscious effort to forgive and love them anyway.
I want you all to know that this is SO much easier said than it is done. I realize that you can’t MAKE yourself forgive and walk in love, but guess what: God can. If you are at least willing, he can come in and renew your mind. Believe me that if you are holding unforgiveness in your heart toward anyone, you have provided territory for the enemy to come into your life and steal the joy and happiness that God gives to you. Sometimes he hides it in ways that are not as easily detected such as apathy or a fear of commitment. Know that loving unconditionally and forgiving unconditionally are absolutely necessary to live in freedom.
If there is someone in your life that you love who has hurt you, pray and ask God to help you to forgive and walk in love. Be honest with him – let him know that you are weak in this area, but you are willing to accept his perfect strength. Call the person’s name out loud, and declare that you forgive them, you love them, and you command the devil to release anything that he has stolen from you as a result of your unforgiveness. Do this several times a day if you have to. Our God is faithful, and he WILL answer your call!
Food for thought:
Ephesians 5:5 - Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
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