Love And Hate
As many of you know I love the beach! I love salt water! It is in my blood as my Dad always said! When my daughter, Sarah, was about 6 we were at the beach with my cousin and her little boy who were visiting. It was late September and not many people were at the beach and it was later in the day. My cousin and I were watching the kids in the water. When I was not in the water with Sarah she could not go past her waist. They also knew to wave to me and I would wave back knowing that we could see each other. I saw Sarah wave to me. There was an older couple in the water about six feet from her. I kept watching Sarah and all of a sudden the man sitting in front of me was running to the water. I realized he was running to Sarah. She was waving for help! She had slipped in a hole over her head and panicked. It was some time after hurricane Bertha and Fran and there were lots of holes in the ocean. I was on his heels. When I got Sarah I just cried and cried. Life could have changed in a split second. For months I could not get that vision out of my mind. I can still see it. I remember thinking how much I love the beach but that would have probably been my last day there. Something I love so much could have ruined my life and I would not have wanted to go back.
Why do I love the ocean? My first answer would probably be because it is peaceful! But when my kids were growing up I would have said fun. Now that I am not life guarding I let the sound of the ocean lull me into a peaceful state. Like I have said before, hours can go by before I know it. Often times I am silent and still. The waves coming closer, crashing and moving away draw me into their rhythm as I feel the stress wash away. I think that is why they have relaxation CD's that have the sounds of the ocean.
There is a fine line between love and hate. I grew up not using the word "hate". As Mom said that is a "strong" word. I agree. I do not hate people but there are some I strongly dislike. There are two sides to every story, there is a front and a back. There is a right and a left. There is dark and there is light. There is love and there is hate. In one moment something I loved so much could have been on my hate list. Hatred could have crept in because my focus and energy would have been on the one bad incident. Sometimes this is how we are with people. One incident can cause hatred to creep in.
1 John 3:23, “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” We are to believe in Jesus. We are to love one another. When asked what the greatest commandment was, God responded in Matthew 22: 37-39, "'...Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
We do not like to think we have enemies but we all do. Jesus knows there are people in our lives that we can not get along with. You know who they are. A bully. A person at work. Someone who was mean to you. Someone who told untruths about you. Someone who took something from you. An ex. Someone who puts you down or takes advantage of you. Someone who lies to you. Matthew 5: 44, "I tell you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you..." So we know we are to love our enemies no matter what they have done. How do we do that? Not on our own! We can ask God to help us. Psalm 51`: 10, "God, create a pure heart in me. Give me a new spirit that is faithful to you." When you pray for that person ask God to bless them. That is hard but it will change your heart.
Sometimes there is some real bad stuff that someone has done and it seems we should be able to justify strongly disliking them and moving on. But God tells us a lot about forgiveness. Matthew 6: 14-15, "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Really this should be the only verse we need but He gave us more. Matthew 18: 21-22, "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ;Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'" Luke 6: 37, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 17: 3-4, "If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
If God did not love his enemies, you and I would be in trouble with all of our mess ups! God loves His enemies enough to send His only Son to die on the cross for us! Romans 5: 6, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly."
Love can conquer fear. love can conquer hate. Love can condemn the sin without condemning the sinner.
Who do we need to forgive today? Who do we need to ask God to bless today? Who do we need to love today?