Saturday, June 13, 2009

Love Thy Neighbor

Relationships are a part of all of our lives. We have a bond to our friends and family. We have those people who we work with on a professional level and we have those people we have met through organizations or church. Being social is just part of the human experience. Most people we get along with quite well. That is the way it works in my life anyway. However, there are people who come around and try to make your day miserable. Do you know the ones I am talking about? Sometimes these people do things or say things you do not like. One time, not so very long ago, I had such a person in my life. This person had a real problem! I had just moved to North Carolina with my family. This person made my life miserable in just about every conceivable way. They would goad me at every opportunity and soon I realized there was something strange happening to me. I hated this person! Now, who had the problem?

Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
(1 John 3:15)

This was the verse which came to mind at the time I realized my problem. I wish I could say I felt less than hatred for this person. It was hatred! I didn't want to see or talk with him or have anything to do with him. The major problem with hatred is that it is sin. Hatred has a way of eating at the one who does it. I did a lot more damage to myself than I did to him by my hatred. Pretty soon thoughts of revenge crept in my mind. This was my fault for not dealing with this right away. Now sin was begetting sin! Finally, I stopped long enough to pray about it and the Lord let me know I had to forgive him and ask for forgiveness myself. This answer angered me too. Now hate and revenge were begetting disobedience! Do you see a pattern here? This is not some little story I am making up. This actually happened. After two or three months of this, I submitted. I was stubborn back in those days and not the most spiritual of Christians. I woke up in the middle of the night with this on my mind and my heart full of conviction. I walked outside and told the Lord I wanted to forgive him but I didn't have the ability in myself. I asked for God's ability to forgive to work through me. I told God that I chose to forgive him. I then asked for forgiveness for being full of hate. No bells or whistles went off or any visions or great revelations occurred. The next day I woke up and didn't hate him anymore. I really felt kind of sorry for him. This might not seem like much to anyone else but it was a great relief to me. It put me back in the will of God. I have tried not to hold grudges or let hate get the better of me since then. How about you? Is there anyone in your own life who comes to your mind when I tell this story? If there is, I encourage you to give up all grudges, hate and strife to God. Lay them at the feet of the Lord and He will readily forgive. He will take all of the hate away and you won't have to carry it anymore. Life is way too short to spend it hating someone.

Father, I thank you still for what you did for me then. I pray that you would bring anything I may have against anyone to my mind. I want to forsake all of these feelings from me. Anyone who I have ever had contact with is someone who Christ shed blood for. Put me in remembrance of this. For all who come and read today, I ask you would bless each one and supply all they need this day. I thank you for the forgiveness you have in your heart, Lord. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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