Rooted in Love
A message on love & forgiveness.
There are many different view points and belief systems in the world . We all have the right to choose and to have our own opinion. Often times I can agree with the view point of another person even if I don’t believe in all things the other person believes in. I can understand where they are coming from and I can have agreement with them when I listen to their opinion and hear their “why”. Sometimes I feel a view point or belief may be similar to my Christian beliefs but I may also think the topic or opinion may be taken out of context. It is very easy to be led astray by well meaning people. I will listen and then I will pray. I will then take what I heard and put it up to God’s Word and see how it stands against it. If it stands – great, perhaps I learned something new from a different perspective. But if it doesn’t stand up, I dump it out of my heart and mind. It is not my job to convince that person that their way of thinking is wrong. I can only share my view point and let them make their own choice.
God left us with some simple commandments to live by. The first of those commandments is that “You shall have no other Gods before me, (Exodus 20:3) so if God condemns something and another belief system embraces it, I don’t follow or believe it. When Jesus came to Earth he summed up the commandments with “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.” (Matthew 22:37) And “Love your neighbors, as you love yourself.” (Mark 12:31) It really doesn’t get more simple than that. I choose love. In all matters, love comes first. God loves us all and God is working in and through those he chooses in one way or another.
This painting, called Rooted in Love, to me represents the growing faith of a Christian. We may hear other ideas and belief systems, but if we are rooted in God’s love, we will remain on the path of righteousness because we will put God first and His definition of love will be in the center of all matters and decisions we make in life. We will test the words of others against His. We will make decisions based on His lessons for life. Sometimes, it isn’t easy and we can and will make bad choices. In times like these, God will gently remind us that we were wrong, and he will put us back on the right track if we are tuned into Him.
There are two different ways to look at every situation. The first is from our personal vantage point, from our encounter and from our own knowledge. Secondly, we can look at a situation from God’s perspective. I guarantee you, God’s perspective is far greater than our own. Our personal vantage point is – well – personal. We are affected by a situation or by the way someone spoke to us or about us. We have deep personal feelings about what just happened. Our emotions begin to rule in our heart, and we start to make decisions and adjustments based on what we feel. God, however, while He is very present in the situation, sees things from an eternal vantage point. Meaning – how is this situation, conversation, experience going to play out in the hearts and minds of those involved over the course of the next few minutes, over their life, and into eternity. He will recognize all of the personal emotional feelings that the involved parties are going through, and then he will know how each person will respond to the situation. He knows the beginning and the end before it even happens. And he knows the direction each person “should” take., and the choice each person “will” make.
People will emotionally hurt us in small ways, and sometimes in very large ways throughout our life time. You too will emotionally hurt people. You may not mean to do it, but you will. You may say, I can never forgive this person for what they did to me or what they said to me, or what they said about me, or how they made me feel. They ruined my life. They ruined my reputation. I lost my job because of them. I lost a relationship. I lost a loved one because of what they did! The emotional turmoil can be endless and it can be very real. I am only stating a few situations here, but you get my point. This method of thinking is personal, self- focused and immediate reactions from the heart. We can really get stuck here if we don’t take a moment to look at every situation from an eternal perspective as God does. First, we need to take a moment to process our emotions. I am not saying you can’t have them. Have them all, but then you need to let them go and look to God before you respond. Ask yourself, how would God want you to handle this situation. What response does He want you to make in the moment, in the next few days. How does God want you to view this situation over the course of your life. Jesus said ‘If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15. That’s fair isn’t it? Do you think you are always right in every situation where someone has hurt your feelings? Are you the only one entitled to an apology or righting? God knows what we need to live healthy, loving lives in community with one another, so he said you must also give forgiveness in order to be forgiven. I can tell you this. God does not want you to wallow in the doom and gloom of what people say about you. God does not want you to feel bad about yourself, and feel worthless. God does not want you to go through life angry, bitter and emotionally drained. God wants you to have a joyous life free of guilt, free of worry, free of condemnation. He wants you to be loved and give love. God wants you to love the person who wronged you. He also wants you to forgive that person. He wants you to process your emotions, deal with the situation the way He wants you to and then leave it for Him to deal with. God will show compassion and love. God will take the situation and grow your thought process and emotional maturity in one way and He will do the same for the other people involved. There is a popular saying – I will forgive, but I will never forget – and that is okay. Forgive, remember so you can learn from it, avoid it in the future, teach someone else about how to avoid it. AND – if you were the person who did the emotional hurting – (as usually it does take more than one person to get into these situations in the first place…) it is good to have ‘remorse’ over what you did wrong. Feel bad about it, apologize, but also forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness. Do not repay evil for evil. God says ‘vengeance is mine’ in over 50 passages of scripture. So if God says he will take care of the wrong doer, then He will do it and we will be smart to believe it.
People have different ways of processing the world around us, and what happens to them. Our emotions can get the best of us. Our responsibility lies in how we respond to life’s challenges and the people in our lives and the world around us. It all starts with love. God loved us first. I hope you will choose to be rooted in love. When you are rooted in love, you will grow into the person God wants you to be. It takes time. In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul lists nine specific behaviors - love, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are the fruits of the spirit, the fruit of love. We should all aspire to bear this fruit in our lives. Our world would be a happier place if we did.
God bless you, and thank you for taking the time to read this important message about love and forgiveness.