As per usual, I had a question for God and as per usual for God, He answered the question but gave so much more!
Since moving here to SK, I have been asking God about relationships. In January of this year He highlighted John 2:24, 25 and I've been questioning Him about that ever since, to "show me what I need to know". Since then He's shown me quite a bit and this mornings 'chat' is another piece.
Now, He has shown me this before, but never at this depth and I have to admit, this is a difficult one for me. This is "choosing" at a whole 'nother level. I sense the freedom which will come with this particular choice, but . . . . a lifetime of self-protection is a hardy shield and one not easily dismantled.
In one of my other posts I wrote about Loving Freely, a message given in 2006, but this goes deeper than mere rejection, this is about loving others in the face of lies and betrayal and is quite the most difficult lesson to learn.
John 2:24,25 says: "And Jesus, on His part was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man"
The challenge for me is to love people in spite of how they treat me. Jesus did and does but I know right now in my heart I do not love certain people. I distrust them, I don't like their behaviours and am very aware that I do not love them unconditionally.
This is a big task for God, to change my heart to love them in spite of how they have treated me and a hard one for me.
As I look back, I can see I may have forgiven a previous boss, a family member no less, for their betrayal. But, I don't love them and because I don't love them, I will avoid them. It's the same with recent incidents of betrayal. I forgive them, but I choose not to be around them as much as possible and that isn't love. I know this in my head but my heart's not in it.
Unconditional love means seeing a person with all their faults, all the hurtful behaviors they exhibit; betrayals, lies, prevarications and deceits. It's about not just accepting them, but feeling genuine pleasure and love for them in my thoughts toward them and when I'm in their company.
As much as I have grown to love and accept others just as they are, for those who hurt and betray me personally, I know I don't love or accept them. I shun them, give them the cold shoulder and if I have to be in their company, I hold myself back from being genuinely me and have even been known to speak disparagingly about them.
Not a pretty picture is it? Human nature at it's basest.
I have a choice now. I can be down on myself and feel guilt and shame at this revelation of myself, or I can be grateful God has shown what is within and ask Him to change me.
I would love to be so freed up that I could be totally genuine in forgiving others, so when I see them there is nothing held back in my attitude toward them, but allow whole-hearted affection and love to flow toward them. This offers so much freedom from emotional upheaval in relationships. I want that, but know the rocky road that lies ahead in getting there. I feel the knocks and bruises from stumbling along this road and it is a painful trip.
It's hard to look into the face of a betrayer and see past the action to a person worthy of love and treat them as such. Very difficult indeed because even if I know and recognize this in my thoughts, my emotions have just been shattered and in the midst of chaotic emotions, I find it really difficult to choose between what I know from what I'm feeling and follow through with what I know is right.
If Jesus is my Mentor, then when I look at Him on the cross, facing His accusers who betrayed Him, He was able to forgive them, He was able to look at them with pity (compassion, sympathy, mercy, forgiveness, kindness & understanding) and love.
I believe that is to be my response also.
Blessings to you as you continue your journey ~