I didn’t feel very loving that day, as I stood in the driveway, listening to the insults and swear words reigning down on me. They were pouring from the half-drunk mouth of someone I had given to, at deep costs to myself and my family, just because God says to love.
But at that moment, I did not like that man.
Not one little tiny bit.
And when I finally made it home, I felt overcome with frustration.
My husband’s phone rang awhile later and after talking for over an hour, Amos held the receiver out to me. I did not want to talk to him. In fact, I would have been just as pleased to never hear from or see him again.
But I said hello. And I forgave him. I did not condone his actions, but acknowledged them and offered forgiveness for them. And I chose to love, even when my flesh felt nothing but loathing.
At first I thought, maybe this is being fake? There is nothing I dislike more than being fake. But then I looked deep and realized, no. This is real.
1 John 3 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” And when we love through our actions, John tells us, “this then is how we know that we belong to the truth” even if our hearts try to condemn us. “For God is greater than our hearts…”
With actions and in truth.
Being real in love. Acting in love.
Talking to the person who just treated you like dirt. Listening to their story, offering grace.
For so long I thought I wasn’t doing it right– I wasn’t feeling love for my “enemies.” I wasn’t feeling anything but hurt and anger. But when I re-read these verses, I am reminded again that yes, my heart so often condemns me– but God is greater than my heart.
And it is the actions and the truth that show real love. Not the feelings or the words.
Something glorious happens when we discipline our minds to do the actions of love– our hearts soon follow. For real. And it’s good.