Though I do enjoy our church’s pastor, it was nice to hear from a visiting preacher today (the day before Independence Day) who is a World War II and Korean War veteran.
In truth, my desire to attend services this morning was a monumental struggle. I’m tired, overworked, exhausted, and the list of feeble excuses continues indefinitely.
Throughout the message, he touched a few times on the topic of love. Actually, he started out with it and I felt as if God had purposely placed him there to let me know that He (God) does understand my deep struggle, conviction, and incorrect attitude with this notion. I felt as if God had spoken with him prior, pointed me out. Targeted my refusal to love, and then set him to work.
I find it difficult to love. Not everyone. I love my husband, children, family and friends. However, I find it difficult to even come near a place of love for those that our human nature, in an immediate response hurt, tells us not to love.
I put up walls, become guarded, do not trust, and certainly do not love. After all of the manipulation, lies, meanness, rudeness, scheming, stealing, and cheating I’ve had heaped upon me (or loved ones) – I find no love in my heart for those behind it all. Almost as if I have a God-given right for that aversion.
After many years of being on my reading list, I’ve finally begun The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.
Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler’s concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century. In World War II she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazis, and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps. Only Corrie among her family survived to tell the story of how faith ultimately triumphs over evil.
To be honest, I put off reading the book. I knew the story and a summary of her testimony. I knew she forgave and loved even after all that she had experienced. That is why it was difficult for me to pick up her words and pour over them. I haven’t wanted to hear that I should love. I’ve wanted to be justified in my staying behind a wall.
Minus the marked severity of hurt that she experienced – the vast differences between Corrie and myself are perspective and willingness. I have viewed the hurt from my own human heart whereas she took on God’s view. She strove for a spirit of loving everyone with the love that God has for them. She performed it almost naturally and purely.
I was a little dazed at her first mention of deciding to love someone how God loved them. Someone who had purposefully led her heart along a path they knew was a complete lie. Someone who did it without explanation or apology. Someone who she simply, though through a lot of hurt, decided to love as God loved.
How I wish, that within me, this would be an overnight or even an immediate change. I believe that at my first glance of someone who has been behind hurt, I may instinctively remember the hurt and begin ensuring that the protective wall in front of me is solid. Though this will be a long road – I do see the eternal importance and overall increased well-being for everyone when we love with the love of God and stop viewing this world and our interactions from such a limited human heart.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
I John 4:11