Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
1 Cor. 13: 4-6
Paul’s description of love is passionate and intense. He describes a love that is not hypocritical, that is kindly affectionate, and that honors others over themselves. (see Romans 12) Love is sharing in the emotions of others- laughing and celebrating with them in joyful times and mourning and weeping with them in their suffering.
Bold love is loving our enemies, doing good to those who harm us. Bold love is God’s weapon to destroy the power of darkness. Bold love hates evil and clings to what is good. We can hate the sin and yet love the sinner.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12: 9
Doing good to those who harm us is not merely to forgive them and ignore them or to let go of the harm. It involves reaching out to them in order to destroy evil and redeem the heart.
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him something to drink; For in so doing, you will heap coals of fire in his head.” Romans 12: 20
There was a story that happened quite a few years ago. Where an armed gunman stormed into a one room Amish schoolhouse and shot 10 girls, killing 5. He then killed himself. The grieving community reached out to the killer’s widow and their 3 young children many of them attending his burial service and hugging the widow and other family members. They also gave the family money.
One of the Amish counselors, Jonas Beiler said, “Tragedy changes you. You can’t stay the same. Where that lands you don’t always know. But what I found in my own experience if you bring what little pieces you have to God, He somehow helps you make good of it. And I see that happening in this school shooting as well. One simple thing that the whole world got to see was this simple message of forgiveness.”
Only through God’s love in us do we have the power to not repay evil for evil. Bold love destroys evil by empathy, hospitality, and generously offering care for what is needed. That love offered to meet a need in the face of the offense is what surprises and shames those who harm us or others and opens their hearts to redemption. The character of God is shown in us when we divinely offer bold love to our enemies.
There have been so many losses and tragedies through these last few years. Reflecting back on what was said and done by the Amish was a powerful reminder of God’s healing love in action. So can we all bring to our Abba Father the little pieces we have left and ask Him to transform and restore us by His great love so we can be filled and reflect that love to the hurting world around us.
In closing I want to offer you a blessing from 1 John 4:16 “May you come to know and believe in the love God has for you. Remembering that God is love and those who live in love, live in Him and He lives in them.”
With His love,