When You Can’t Handle the Hate

Jesus promised us that “in the world we would have trouble” (John 16:33). Hate seems to be the prominent way societal agendas are pushed into action. Do you remember the part in Frozen when Elsa realizes that the key to controlling her icy powers is the warmth of love? The cartoon queen might be on to something. After all, how much hate can we throw at hate before we end up consumed in the eternal coldness of winter? 

“The antidote to hate is compassion,” states Psychology Today, “for others and ourselves.” Christ sacrificed His life for everyone, and His command to us is to love… above all else. When you can’t handle the hate, practice compassion. 

Hate can attempt to get under our skin and either make us believe outright lies about who God says we are, or turn towards another to claim lies about who they are. In three simple steps, we can realign our thoughts to the tune of Christ’s love.

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A Prayer for the Heartbroken and Lonely on Valentine’s Day

In a matter of days after Christmas passes, the retail industry shifts from Christmas trees to heart-shaped chocolate boxes. Those in love embrace Valentine’s Day as another reason to celebrate, while others nurse broken hearts and mourn seasons of loneliness. This may be the year a man spends his first Valentine’s Day without his wife of over fifty years. It could be the premiere of a mom’s new, separated life and broken family. For someone else, the occasion may signify the inaugural holiday since the diagnosis. Others scroll through life wishing for more. Some clutch tightly to the smiles they are fighting for.

Few get to celebrate a soul-filling love. Christ is all we need to live a full life, yet we seek satisfaction from our earthly relationships. We craft, build, counsel, seek, and pedestal-place our significant others and spouses where they are bound to fall. Where do we turn? How do we heal? Does God care about our broken hearts, tear-stains and cracked promises?

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A Prayer for Struggling Relationships

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Relationships remain imperfect because humanity is incapable of selfless love. Due to the fall in the garden of Eden, we are continually cursed with sin, keeping us from accomplishing correct communication with each other. Only one pair of feet have ever trod the earth in perfect obedience to God. Jesus came out of compassion for us. It’s through Him, that we can find victory in life, and our relationships. Not through perfection of our behavior, but through the perfect forgiveness and hope that His love grants us.

The very definition of ‘struggle’ is “to content with an adversary or opposing force.” We often pit the people on the other side of our relationships against ourselves. In addition to the disagreement at hand, we internally mull over all of the ways that we want them to treat us, and expect to be treated. We are set to a defensive default, but created to love.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Jesus taught that this was the most important command. The NIV Notes on this verse say that “Jesus’ teaching united his followers around love.” Unity is the opposite of struggling opposition. There’s nothing we can do to force our relationships to work. But we can focus on Love.

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What is Love? -Meaning and Biblical Understanding of the Word.

“Live a life of love.” – Ephesians 5:2

“I’m not afraid anymore,” Kevin declared as he bounded triumphantly into the frostbit air with his newfound courage in the movie “Home Alone.” “Did you hear me? …I’m not afraid anymore!” In an instant, he found himself face-to-face with an entirely different fear than the one he had prepared to face, and took off screaming into his house.

How are we supposed to live out the words Paul penned to the Ephesians when there is a new fear, anxiety, pain, or problem lurking around every corner of our lives?

“There is no fear in love.” – 1 John 4:18 NIV

“God is love.” (1 John 4:16) Through Christ, we have access to His wisdom through the living Word of Scripture, providing us wisdom to live out a life of love over fear. Love is always bigger.

“Since we are His children, we must walk in His unconditional love. Love is more than just words; it requires action. God’s unconditional love should characterize our lives. As people who have His love living within us, we need to represent Christ’s authentic kindness and forgiveness to others.” -Dr. Charles Stanley, Life Prinicples BibleNotes

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The Cast Call (#jammed daily devo, day 357)

December #jammed: Grace, gifted.

Day 357: Callbacks.

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 

The story of Christ’s birth tells of ordinary people who loved God, and ended up together DECJAM23on what would be the night that changed the face of the earth forever. Humanity …we long for benchmarks, standards, and qualifications. If we were in charge, the people that were picked to be Jesus’ earthly parents would not have been Mary and Joseph. They were ordinary. And Jesus would not have been born in a manger. That’s too simple …and not sanitary.

Humanity would have had Jesus born unto royalty and into a castle …not in a stable under the stars.

Tryouts. Auditions. We’re constantly having to live up to each others’ standards.

Jesus wasn’t worried about any of them. His appearance was common. His birth was common. His parents were common. Yet, the angels still lit the sky on the night He was born.

Someone once told me that no one else can tell my story. Human life is like that. It’s so intricate and unique, one to the next, that no one story is ever duplicated fully. If that’s not a miracle in and of itself …

We like to compare, thinking it will give us a certain amount of stability to know where we stand. But God knows us all. Loves us all. Jesus knew us all before we were born. Perhaps the greatest thing we can learn from Jesus’ arrival on earth is that greatness isn’t packaged the way we think it has to be. That a humble and quiet life is heard at the same volume as the loud and flashy ones.

click to tweet graph, dec jammed

Father, Praise You for Christ’s humble birth, and thank You for loving every person the same on this earth. Forgive us for seeking favoritism and elevation among others, and bless our hearts to receive and give Your authentic love. In Jesus ‘ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Lane-Walking,

Megs

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