Weekly Sabbath Survey
Rising in Love — 3-15-2014
Several years ago, I had a very serious problem with a family member. The hurt this woman caused me and my family was obscenely wide and deep. The person that I had once loved very much became a betrayer. She had her own problems, of course, was very unhappy, but her solution was to fix her problem with decisions that hurt many other people.
I was mature enough in the Lord to know what I felt for her was a bad thing, but I could not seem to get over it — to fix myself. I must have felt somehow justified in how I was feeling. In time, she became despicable to me. All the love and respect I felt for her was gone, and I was actively disliking her at a very intense level. I never saw her any more, never spoke with her by phone, as our life paths necessarily diverged. But the disapproval and disrespect I felt for her was there just the same.
One night in a ladies meeting I told the group I would be attending a function soon where I would encounter this woman that I disliked intensely. I explained the situation briefly and then my feeling towards her. After a few sentences I stopped talking, looked around the room and exclaimed, “Oh, good heavens, I hate this person!” I was kind of laughing because it seemed so stupid that I had not figured this out before. They all looked at me kind of odd, not knowing what to say or do, I guess. I explained to them it was a relief to know what was wrong, and how easy it would be to fix it. I just had to truly forgive her and then ask the Lord to forgive me. I asked them to pray that I would have this straightened out and have a pure heart by the weekend when I would see the woman. It did seem like a short amount of time to make this long term crooked way get straight, but I knew God was the One who could get it done.
The very NEXT DAY, in a devotional book I was reading most every day at the time, this is what came up . . .
Most of us have fallen in love. And most of us have fallen out of love. It’s a great feeling while it lasts, but it tends to fade away. The problem is, real love is not below us. Real love is above us,. If it were below us, we could ‘fall in love.’ Since real love — God’s love — is above us, we are to rise in love.
Jesus is love and that is why His is the Resurrection. Because we rise in love, so we also rise in the Lord. Unlike falling in love, rising in love is not being swept up in a feeling. Love is above us, above our feelings. It’s when we have no reason to love, no reason to forgive and we love anyway, then we are rising in love.
So, choose to love — love those you don’t feel like loving, love those you are not ‘in love’ with. Love the unloving, the unlovely, and the unlovable. It’s not like falling in love. For real love doesn’t make you fall – it lifts you up. And that’s far better.
When I read this, I was home from work and seated in my comfy chair. I read it through, and by the time I got to the last few lines, the tears were flowing, yes, pouring. My dogs even came over to check on me and comfort me, knowing that something was going on. I sobbed and mourned the wrong that was done by this person and then, the wrong I had done myself. Finally, I felt a total release. I let the love of GOD flow into that dried up corner of my spirit until I was fully soaked in and filled up with that love.
You can probably guess the outcome that weekend. When I went to the function and we saw each other across the room, she looked a bit uncertain. I smiled and walked quickly to her and grabbed her in a big bear hug and said, “How are you doing! You’re looking great.” Her face lit up, and she began to chatter like a magpie, as if we were two long lost old friends who loved each other dearly, which it seems was actually the case. This made my heart glad, and God got the victory. I also realized that day that my love for her had not died. It was a different kind of love now, a different level of expression. It was a lifting up to love instead of falling into love. And it had everything to do with forgiveness: that rickety bridge we all need to cross from time to time, so it is wise we not do it harm by refusing to let someone else walk over it.
Godly love in us hangs on with other people. It never fails. Some other good things may fail, but not love. We have three things in our lives as Believers that never fail us: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (paraphrased from 1 Corinthians 13)
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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