Show­ing love to dif­fi­cult peo­ple

The Covington News - - Religion -

Re­cently, my pas­tor chal­lenged the con­gre­ga­tion to go 24 hours without com­plain­ing. When he made that re­quest, I thought, “ OK, I’ll take that chall e n g e .” By three o’clock, I fell off the wagon and won­dered how the rest of the church faired.

I lay in bed that night pray­ing and ask­ing God for help in many ar­eas of my life. As I spoke th­ese words, “ I love you so much, Fa­ther” — God stopped me short and gave me my great­est chal­lenge.

“ Do you love me enough to show love to _______,” he asked? He filled in the blank with names of sev­eral peo­ple that I keep at an arms dis­tance.

At an early age, as a means of shield­ing my­self against pain and trou­ble­mak­ers, I would sim­ply put up a wall be­tween me and that per­son. If they hurt some­one I loved, I would pre­tend that per­son didn’t ex­ist. I would erase their ex­is­tence from my mind. Not a pretty thing to ad­mit, but it made life eas­ier — for a sea­son. Un­for­tu­nately, bad habits carry over into our adult lives and be­come much more dif­fi­cult to face.

My hus­band finds a way to get along with every­one and has had very few bro­ken re­la­tion­ships. What’s his se­cret? He for­gives and for­gets and keeps the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion open, where I am guilty of clam­ming up.

We can all agree that it is much eas­ier to drop money into the of­fer­ing plate for mis­sions than it is to be a mis­sion­ary of love to fam­ily or friends. Luke 10: 27 com­mands us to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love our neigh­bors as we love our­selves.

My great­est chal­lenge — do I love God enough to show love to ________? I want to say yes, but I know I have work to do. I have to for­give, for­get and re­store lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Why did I share this with you? Well, it’s like when you go on a diet and tell your friends so they will hold you ac­count­able. My friends, will you help hold me ac­count­able as I de­sire to face my great­est chal­lenge and obey God?

Colleen Capes Jack­son is the di­rec­tor of the East Metro At­lanta Chris­tian Writ­ers and can be reached at 404- 444- 7514.

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