Love Must Resist Hate

It can be very difficult to find a way to love and forgive those who hate us or those who have done us wrong. All of us, at some point in our lives, have faced betrayal, been let down, or perhaps have been left with a broken heart. It is natural to either retaliate or feel resentment against those who do us wrong.

Social media does not help us; it has encouraged a culture of hate. I see it every day. Hate has prompted an increase in violence towards people who are different from us in their ethnic backgrounds, beliefs, and social statuses. This is exactly what the enemy wants us to do; he delights when we do the opposite of what Jesus taught us to do: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).

Jesus calls us to love our enemies. He instructs us to go beyond our selfish selves and love others because He first loved us. Jesus sets the perfect example of how to love those who hate us. As Jon Tyson states in his book Beautiful Resistance, “God loved us even when we were His enemies.  Jesus died for us while we were enemies of God.” We must love like Jesus does. We must be known as people who love because that’s how the world will know we are followers of Christ (John 13:35).

Jesus had all the reasons in the world to dismiss humanity because He was hated by many. Instead, He did the opposite—rescuing humanity when He died on the cross, carrying with Him the sins of the world, including the sins of those who hated Him.

Hate can take us hostage and overwhelm us with negative emotions such as envy, bitterness, dishonesty, pride, and even a desire for revenge. When this happens, our hearts have no room to allow the Holy Spirit to empower us to forgive and to love.

Let us pour out any feelings of resentment at the foot of the cross, releasing any burden of hate in our hearts and allowing His love to transform us.

One Thing Remains

The month of March has taken on new significance for me this year.

On March 8, I will commemorate the one-year anniversary of a snowmobiling accident near Backus, Minnesota. When I regained consciousness, I found EMT personnel placing me on a backboard and loading me into a waiting ambulance.

I was admitted into a local hospital—the same hospital I was born in, ironically—where I was informed that I had sustained four rib fractures and a couple of lung punctures. This was not what I had planned for that day!

In northern climates like Minnesota’s, March is known for its erratic weather. (When I was in elementary school, I learned the March adage, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.”) We brace ourselves for the worst and hope for the best.

Yet even if you don’t experience March weather like this, I imagine you have had a similar experience with the unpredictable nature of life. From one day to the next, we can expect the unexpected.

How can we successfully navigate uncertain days? With the truth found in this song lyric: “Constant through the trial and the change, one thing remains . . . Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.”*

Only one thing is constant throughout change—our Savior’s love. One thing is constant in our failures and successes—God’s unchanging love.

Throughout this month—and for the rest of my life—I will celebrate God’s loving protection during that moment of impact in March 2019, His loving provision in the face of seemingly insurmountable circumstances, and His loving pursuit in my healing journey.

If you’re unfamiliar with this chapter of my story, let me share the briefest of summaries.

God’s loving protection is obvious. I survived the crash.

His loving provision was personal and unique. God lovingly provided capable help at the scene of the accident and a friend to help with logistics and moral support to my husband. The Lord provided me a travel companion, chosen months prior to our travels, who had medical expertise. If you didn’t know, I was on a plane to Germany about 36 hours after being released from the hospital.

Finally, God was relentless in His loving pursuit of my complete healing. Within less than 24 hours after I landed on German soil, a medical exam of my rib cage confirmed I no longer had rib fractures!

Even better, because of this accident, God lovingly—and relentlessly—offered a path to relational healing that has truly set me free. It will be my privilege to share this story more fully with you as God allows.

So, come what may this month—whether it be a violent, unsettling roar from the March lion or a gentle, restorative blessing from the March lamb—I am secure in the love of my heavenly Father, “who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17b).

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus my Lord (see Romans 8:38-39).

Constant through the trial and change, one thing remains: the love of God that is in Christ Jesus my Lord—praise be to God!

*“One Thing Remains,” by Jesus Culture

 

 

Stories from the Field – Silver Lining Orphanage Xiao

My name is Xiao Yu and in 2011, when I was 12 years old, I arrived at the orphanage in Da Hua, China. I come from a very small village where I lived with my three younger siblings, parents, and grandpa.

Growing up we did not have electricity and our main source of income was acquired from selling vegetables. As a child I didn’t know we were poor because we were a happy family. Everything changed when my dad suddenly passed away when I was 9. I didn’t have much time to grieve because all the farm work had to be done by my brother and I. We would always cry while working and when my mom saw us, she would come hug us and then we would all cry together. I envied others who had a father because their farm work would be done much quicker.

While other families were taking breaks with their work, my brother and I would still have half of the farm field left. My mom remarried shortly after and abandoned the four of us.

I understand why she left. Our home was too poor and she had been through a rough time.

I just hope she’s happy and that her husband treats her well. Things got worse after that because I had to wake up much earlier than before to find wild vegetables and feed pigs before taking my siblings to school. My brother was 7, my sister was 3 and my youngest brother was only a couple months old. Before waking them up I would cry alone because I was so tired but I kept telling myself that as the oldest sister I should carry the burden alone.

I think my hard work paid off because when I was 12, aunties and uncles from Silver Lining brought me to the orphanage in Da Hua. It was crazy how technologically advanced city-life was and life at Silver Lining was so much better because the aunties would cook for me and even help me with my schoolwork. The hardest part for me though was being away from my siblings. I missed them so much and was so happy when they arrived at Silver Lining a year later!

Fast-forward 6 years and I’m now a senior in high school preparing to be the first person from my family’s history to attend a university. My dream is to go back to Silver Lining in the future so that uncle and aunty Yeung can go to other places to help children in need.

 

by Joshua Yeung, International worker with Silver Lining

 

Stories from the Field highlight the ministries that the Women of the Alliance have chosen to support.  For more info visit https://www.greatcommissionwomen.org/resource/more2/

God Has Come to Help His People

Women Impacted by Jesus – part 6

We are traveling together through the gospel of Luke, reflecting on women who received “more” through the life-transforming work of Jesus.

Jesus is traveling in ministry, bringing evidence of the kingdom of God to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear. In Luke we read this account: Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out–the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. [Luke 7:11-17 NIV]

Jesus saw the widow of Nain and felt the magnitude of her loss. She had no husband to protect her and now no son to provide for her. Compassion begins with having eyes to see individuals and their unique circumstances. If we desire to be like Jesus, we must slow down, look around, and be willing to enter into the lives of others.

Jesus then demonstrated both the power and the heart of the Kingdom of God. He raised the young man to life and gave him back to his mother. Both actions inspire worship in my spirit. The power to raise the dead to life! And the tender giving back of that which had been lost. Lord, You are good and your mercies are new every morning!

Drawing upon the resources of the Kingdom, what can we give back to those who have experienced loss? Can we restore dignity, hope, and relationship to others through our time, attention, and God-given grace? We are now the sent ones, traveling through our lives with Spirit-anointing. May we be good stewards of this equipping.

Finally, in this Advent season, I am reminded that God, too, had an “only son” Who was given, Who died, was brought back to life, and given back to us. May we all rejoice in the joy of our salvation!