Loving other people can feel like stepping across a field of land mines sometimes. Perhaps this is truest of all online. Politics. Social issues. The latest offense at school or work or the fast-food drive-through. It’s all there. Angry words, sharp-pointed opinions, the shrapnel of bitterness and envy. Why do we do this to each other?
I’ve come to believe this: we are most angry when we are most afraid. It’s the old flight-or-fight response built into our bodies from the beginning. Some of us flee, but others of us pick up our guns and load them with words. We think we are saving ourselves, maybe even saving the world, but we are destroyers in disguise.
I recently talked about this with two friends and fellow writers. During our conversation, this verse came to mind:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:18-19 (NIV)
We, as humans, tend to think if we can have things our way, then the world will be better. So we fight our fear aggressively and forcefully. We post and shout. We raise our fists and our voices.
But what if instead of spewing those angry words and that tirade online, we simply go to the person who is standing in our kitchen today and say, “I love you and I am for you”? What if we reach out to someone who is different from us? We fear what we don’t understand, and if we’re spending all our time saying, “Here’s my opinion,” then we’re not listening, not understanding. Fear wins.
One of my friends asked, “What would it be like if we made a commitment to fight for each other instead of with each other?” It’s a question worth considering if we want to defeat fear. Because if we live with swords drawn in defense, then we are always on guard, looking for the next fight, seeing threatening shadows in every corner.
We have a Protector. He is good. He is wise. He is kind. And here’s what we need to know: God hasn’t asked us to be right all the time. He has called us to love. This is the harder, braver choice. Because it requires opening our hearts instead of our mouths. It’s about seeing each other not as threats but as people made in the image of God. It means we lay down our weapons and go, with arms wide open, down a path that could very well lead to a cross.
At first, we might be scared. This is not the easy option after all. But it is the fiercehearted one. And it’s the only way back to grace and peace, mercy and hope, humility and kindness.
I still believe this: love is stronger than fear.
God, You are the maker of all human beings, those we care for most and the ones who will always be a mystery to us. Give us eyes to see others as You do, a heart that has compassion like Yours, and the strength to keep on loving. Amen.
Think of one person who is hard for you to love sometimes and
take a moment to say a prayer for them.
This post is the Day Twelve devotion from Strong, Brave, Loved: Empowering Reminders of Who You Really Are and is published with permission. Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. Want to join Holley’s FREE Strong, Brave, Loved Online Bible Study? Click here for more information and to join the Waiting List!
God hasn’t asked us to be right all the time. He has called us to love. -@holleygerth: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Debbi McCarthy says
Holly, you were God’s messenger today. I was pretty sure if I went back to the beginning of your message today it would say “Dear Debbi”. Thanks for sharing.
THIS! Thank you Holly for reminding us ladies of the church that the call from the World to be the “social justice warriors” we see on tv is not what God’s word calls us to be. He calls us to love with the love of Christ for each other, to remind ourselves that Christ loved sacrificially without having to be a doormat, and we are to remember our worth as daughters to the Most Holy. Being part of God’s Kingdom here on Earth looks very different from the World’s view, but His Kingdom brings Hope, Peace, and a Never Ending Love to share that the World can never give us.
Thank you for this!
Well said, Holley! But so hard. When each side feels their stance represents what God would want for us. How can that be? But still, we must open ourselves to love and to be loved. Okay. We can do this.
Holly, great message! As I was reading your message, my thoughts not only reflected toward my friendships and family members but also my marriage. Regardless of the relationships we encounter or inhabit daily, it is necessary that we come to Jesus with our fears and “pride” so that He can heal us to encourage LOVE! Thanks for your tender thoughts. Charisse 🙂
yes…theres SO much more to be said about peace..if we dig into the Bible Jesus tells us many times to act peacefully and be peacefilled..he corrects when us to want to act out yelling and spitting rage.
I have found that while not all things can be solved with instant words..its worth it to step back pray & then react.
Jenni DeWitt says
Yes! I did this with a difficult coworker. I wanted to be mad and gossip about her and they way she had treated me. Instead, I forced myself to pray for her. The transformation in her happiness I witnessed in response to those prayers was breathtaking. Prayer changes things and for me often those “things” are my own heart (or someone else’s). Thanks for the post Holly!
Tammie Bray says
I love this – “Fight for each other, not with each other”. Powerful!!
Beth Williams says
This world is so full of hatred & disunity. What it needs desperately is love. We are commanded to love one another as ourselves. It is so easy in this world to get caught up in the moment & simply post what you think. That can lead to more dislikes & disunity. We need to spread more of God’s love down here. We need eyes to see each person as God sees them. A precious child of almighty God. Love & respect should flow from our hearts to social media. This world is in desperate need of God’s redemptive love, caring & kindness. We need to stop trying to be right all the time. Trying to prove a point. Let’s not be like some politicians-act like theirs is the only correct way. Let’s listen with loving ears & be there with open loving arms, & a willingness to just be there & love on one another.