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Loving Those Who've Hurt You

He that says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loves his brother stays in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.  But he that hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and knows not where he goes, because that darkness has blinded his eyes.  1 John 2:9-11
Last year, I attended a political event, and while there saw someone I hadn't seen in many years. The Lord had been working in a powerful way in my heart that year, and I knew I ought to go say 'Hi'. But to my shame, I didn't. This person was a brother in Christ--someone who had hurt me and my family repeatedly but unknowingly through their own foolishness and dysfunctional situation. It had become an 'infamous moment' in our family history--that month when we opened our home to strangers.

This morning, as I was reading these verses, that scenario immediately popped in my head. I was convicted.  In my own mind, there was no one that I was aware of whom I 'hated'.  I certainly didn't think I 'hated' them, I just didn't particularly 'like' them. I certainly didn't want to have fellowship with them.

To be honest, I was deceiving myself, but it took looking in the mirror of God's word, to be reminded of my lack of love and my disobedience to the Lord's command.

'Not hating a brother' is not going far enough. Jesus' command was that we actively 'love' our brothers. In fact I've discovered that the easiest way to get over bad feelings for someone is to start blessing them as Jesus commanded us to do to our enemies.--to pray for them and do them good.

Everyone has someone they're tempted to hate--someone who has hurt them--maybe repeatedly. If we don't have Christ's love empowering us and we've never accepted the love of Christ, then there is no way we could ever forgive them.

Jesus commands are, to be quite honest, impossible for non-Christians to fulfill. They are also impossible for we Christians to fulfill apart from His grace.


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