Reply with love
Ever had anyone do something, or say something to you that really just hurt? Please. If you haven’t, then, really, you need to remove yourself from the bubble you live in.
We all have. It’s just part of human nature. Sometimes the other person does/says something intentional that hurts us, and they mean for it to hurt. Other times, it’s completely unintentional. It doesn’t generally make me feel any better at the time to know that fact… it still hurts, regardless of intent.
I recently had someone close to me do such an “unintentional” act that hurt me. It was done via telephone, and I feel quite sure that the person does not know what they did. And really, I’m not going to bring it up, and wouldn’t even mention it here except for the lesson I learned… it’s worth making public.
My initial reaction to basically being blown off was, “see what happens when the roles are reversed… I can play that game too”. Not exactly the most Christ-like response. But I was hurt! I felt like I deserved more attention/response considering the circumstances. I relayed my anger to Matt… and then promptly forgot about it in the bathtime/storytime/bedtime bedlam.
Later, I was reading for my Bible study, and came across this:
“In Ipoh, Malysia, a seventeen-year-old young man accepted Christ. His parents worshiped Hanemun, the monkey god. His father, Mr. Cheng, was furious when he found out about it. He beat his son, and threw him out of the house. That night, the lad had no place to go. He decided to sleep on the front steps of his house. In that culture, people remove shoes upon entering the house and store them in a little cupboard on the front porch. Seeing those shoes, the young man got a rag and polished every pair.
The next night, in addition to polishing the shoes he waxed his father’s car. For one week he continued to sleep on the porch and serve his angry father in every possible way. It was then that his father began to weep and embraced not only his son, but also faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
When I read this, I was completely convicted of my angry response! This son was intentionally hurt by his father, and even so, did not respond in anger. He responded with an act of service.
Now, here I am, hurt, and responding in anger about a completely unintentional hurt… when what I need to be doing is responding with love. If that love means an act of service, then I need to do that. If responding in love means anything else, I need to do that. Why?
Because that’s what Christ did for me. I HURT HIM. My sin is an ugly,ugly thing to see. And it hurts Him to have to look at it. But, even though He KNEW what I was going to do… all of the good, the bad, and the ugly… loooong before I was born, He CHOSE to respond in love. His response led Him to the cross, where He chose to DIE… for me.
That’s responding in love right there, folks. Real, true, unshakable love.
I know that it is no coincidence that all of this is coming together for me in the week leading up to the Easter celebration. May I be joyful in the knowledge that Christ rose again and therefore defeated my sin. May I also never forget that before He could rise, He had to die… and that’s the greatest act of Love in history.