There has been so much anger lately. Not only is it pretty much all that’s in the daily news, it’s right here in my own little world. I know someone with whom I have had a good working relationship for several years. Both of our jobs have recently changed, causing a change in our relationship. I was excited for the new opportunities for both of us, but this person began making hurtful comments to me and whether it was intentional or not, it was hard to receive. I realize that this little situation is not the most terrible thing going on in the world. So many people out there are hurting and angry and in pain for much worse things than this. But I wanted to share my story with you in the hopes that you can realize the truth a lot faster than I did:
I was asked to read 2 Peter 1:1-9, as well as Matthew 5:43-48. The first time I read it, I closed my bible and said, “No way, I can’t do this.” Check out The Message’s version of what Matthew had to say:
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”
Holy cow, right? It was hard to read. In fact, I read this passage shortly after the Orlando shootings in June and I couldn’t listen to what God had to say to me, because it’s so much easier to keep my opinions to myself. I have a lot of friends that are passionate about some tough issues in this world: Racism. Bigotry. Gun violence. Not only are they passionate, they’re almost accusatory to others who either don’t speak up (“Your silence is your agreement to what happened.”)…so I don’t touch those subjects with a 10-foot pole.
Then, here came God, prodding me along to figure out what He was trying to say to me. I re-read what Peter said: “So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others.“ And then it hit me, listening to my music assignment…when I really listened to the lyrics:
“My gracious master and my God assist me to proclaim
To spread through all the earth abroad the honors of Thy name
So come on and sing out let our anthem grow loud, there is one great love, Jesus.”
– from the song O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
As a Christian, I am a warrior. It’s my job to spread God’s love. It’s not to fight hate with more hate or anger with more anger. Love isn’t weak – it’s far from it. In fact, love is the strongest thing in this world. Think about it: As a young child, there was nothing better than my parents’ love. As a parent, there’s nothing better than loving my daughter (or my dog). There’s nothing better than having friends who keep reminding me of their love by the littlest things in the world that are truly the biggest things. I can’t get through this world alone…and I don’t have to. I’ve got love warriors in my little world that are so fierce and strong in their love for me.
So don’t lose a minute! Stay strong and focused. Fight back with love. Stronger. Harder. Be fierce in your intentions: Be a warrior.