Monday, December 15, 2014

Friday Fruit Talks- week 2 {Love- and my struggle to bear it}

So, I do know today is not Friday.  And I do also realize this post was due to go out TWO Fridays ago.  It was not forgotten.  It was, however, postponed.  You see, I didn't want to start our look into the fruit of the Spirit, by discussing love.  Because, if I am honest with you, this is an area that is rarely exhibited in my spirit :(.  Love my husband?  Oh, yes.  My children?  For sure.  My family and friends?  Definitely.  Buuuuuuut, a "friend" that has wronged me or hurt me in some way?  A little more difficult.  Someone that I just seem to clash with in every aspect of personality and life in general?  Yeah, we're treading dangerous waters.....

When I realized love was the first fruit we would be looking at, I thought of all the ways I show love to those around me.  I was planning to write all about that, and quote a few verses of scripture to show how we should all show the love of Christ.  Easy, right?  Well, the day or two before that, something happened that made it near impossible for me to write anything concerning love.  I need to tell you a little background story.  Three years ago, I was deeply crushed by a certain friend.  The wounds inflicted were deep, and I barely recovered.  No apology was given, or even acknowledgment of the slight which I had been handed.  I fought bitterness.  I struggled to lay aside anger.  And, I bore it in silence, never telling a soul what she had done.

Through all that time, I still tried to extend kindness to this girl.  Every opportunity I was presented to encourage or uplift, I attempted to give my heart, to show her love.  Then, a few weeks ago, I realized she was taking my attempts at kindness, and using them to her advantage, to hurt me further.  She may not realize the magnitude of the hurt I still carry, but it is there.  And her actions showed that there had been no change in her heart concerning the original betrayal.  Frustration and anger came flooding back into my heart.  The humiliation I had endured during that season of my life, bubbled to the surface of my heart again, and I could not see any love present for this girl.  I was due, the very next day, to have our little talk, here on the blog, about love.  Yikes.  How was I going to be all nice and spiritual, when really, my heart needed some major work?

So, for the past week and a half, I have agonized with the Lord about the condition of my heart.  If the love of God is not present in my heart, do I even know Him?  I mean, really know Him?  The blog post was put on the back burner, until I could hear from Him.  Then, last night, while praying about my attitude towards her, and a few other individuals, the Lord brought a question to my heart.  Why, exactly, have I been trying to show kindness to this friend since those tear filled weeks a few years back?  Why not tell her exactly how she'd hurt me, cut off the friendship, and walk away?  What had been my motivation in attempting encouragement, praying for her often, and allowing her access to my life?  Well, this girl has never met Jesus.  Yes, she is fairly religious.  But, no salvation has ever taken place, a fact that I have agonized over, and prayed that the way I handled things three years ago, and since, will not be a stumbling block for her to accept Christ....... And, then, there it was.  Love.

Most days, when someone upsets me, I am quick to walk away, dust off my feet, and be happy to rid myself of the strife.  But, I struggle to stop caring for people's souls.  Love.  We can't always get along with everyone.  Some people are just mean, or have unintentionally offensive personalities.  And, you know what?  I am extremely difficult to get along with for most people.  I lack basic social skills sometimes, and that has come across as rude, more times than I'd like you to know about.  So, we all aren't meant to be the best of friends. God designed us all differently, and for a unique purpose.  But, once we have Jesus living in our hearts, we SHOULD have love for each other.  We should care if someone is lost, and bound for hell.  We should hurt when a brother or sister is hurting.  And we should desire to restore, when another falls.  Love.

Do I always have the best attitudes toward people, and show grace in my heart when they aren't exactly the way I think they should be?  No, I don't, and that is something I am still praying about.  But, the love and concern for their soul is there, and I'd like that love to grow.  Anyone else struggle with love, as I do?  Let's pray for each other.  That the love of God would manifest itself in our hearts, lives, and the words that proceed from our mouths, so strongly that everyone we come in contact with, will HAVE to have Him.  We can't produce the fruit of love ourselves.  But, we can most definitely allow Him to work in our hearts, and bear love in our lives.

Praying together,


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