No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends – John 15: 13
I have two close friends whom God alone has given me a heart to love and immensely love. With my own effort I would never have done what I did for them. They have a very special place in my heart and moreover in my daily prayers.
Lately, both of them had to vacate due to immigration and visa related processes. From the time they have gone, I have been missing them a lot. It’s not like there aren’t other friends. Indeed a lot of them to focus on build my life with and walk closer to God. But, these two indeed have been a part and parcel of my life. I have seen them fight ugly battles and shine. I have cried with them, ate with them, laughed and praised God from the depth of my heart, with them. Today, when they are away, I would always ask myself, “What would I have done if they were with me?” Along with God’s grace, this question would be an inspiration for me to go ahead and be what I need to be for others. Yes, I fail many times. But, I see Him pick me up and set me on the race towards serving in love again.
Well, the painful part to this is, one of them after leaving haven’t once messaged and asked me, “How are you doing?” If I message her, she would reply in about two to three sentences. It would ache my heart big time, because I would eventually sink into thinking, “Why on earth does she behave like this to ME?” It’s not just about her messaging, but the Cold War kind of attitude that is so evident, is what lets me down. While, the other friend, will randomly drop in a message to find out how am I doing, and tell me what’s going on with her. Two people – same effort, same love, same actions and same words, and both have equally seen my offensive behaviors and attitudes. But, their responses today are highly different. Deep down I have the urge to just pour out my faze and tell her how painful she makes me feel throughout, especially when she keeps in touch with many others, but me.
Rings a bell? I do the same at times, to my husband, folks and people really close. I have let down and hurt many in the past. My unwise actions have caused miserableness to them. I have taken them for granted and not even bothered to ask if there is anything they would need from me. Forgetting all, these very people, still continue to be the blessing they are in my life relentlessly. Why am I sharing this with you?
In life, we will have people that recognize our worth and value in their lives; if not regularly, at the least on constant intervals. But there are others, who once have gone extra miles for you and you have equally or even more, taken the pleasure to be troubled for their wellbeing; and now they completely reject you. Are they your friends? Yes! They are! What do you do in such situations? I was ready to give this friend a peace of mind and ask her if she got enough satisfaction by making me feel this bad. Before, I took that drastic step I wanted to pray and tell God, that how terrible I feel about her, waiting on Him a little while I heard, “It’s to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19: 11). Initially, I couldn’t take that in because that meant to agree to let it go, which I didn’t want to. But again, the same words kept repeating within. I cried a lot and told God a list of things I had done for this friend especially during physical pains in my body; also what she had done for me in a generous manner. After few minutes, I felt this peace that told me, “She has many battles to fight which you have no clue about. Let this go into my hands. I know you feel dejected and overlooked. I feel this with you because I too had friends who abandoned me. Let me take this pain, this relationship and fix it for you in my time and in my way. She’s highly precious to me and so are you my child. I have given you love for her and continue loving for you belong to me”. Immediately a weight lifted up. I also realized there have been wrong intents and idolizing of expectancies from my side. Confessing and agreeing to it in the light of the Word of God changed my chaotic perspective into God saying, “It is NOW good”. In no time, I started praying for her, knowing this time it didn’t hit the surface of felony and bounce back. It went straight into the heart of God and He is beginning good works for her, whether I am physically going to be in the picture or not. This pain has made me pray two specific prayers, “Lord let me always be consciously grateful to You, for the people that once were and will be a blessing in my life,
Lord, help me love, without expectations and relentlessly because, all of them are so dear and near to your heart”.
We all miss out on people that have played great roles in our lives and fail them. But in the midst of all, God causes love to evolve through repentance and honest confession. We need to identify if there are wrong intents in our relationships, and this could be one of the smallest thought, “Let Him/ Her greet me first, I am not going to”. If you feel like greeting you should innocently greet and not be like, “again I had to do this”. When we are faithful to our friends (Our Heavenly Father’s treasured possessions), in our thoughts and actions towards them, especially when the ground is shaky, we will definitely enjoy the privilege of God’s presence in their lives. So continue loving, even if anyone ignores you. LOVE! This doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat. This means asking God for wisdom to deal with these friends and above all the grace to pray for them daily, to be blessed with the love of Christ. In our lives, whatever relationships are complicated; we just need to place it at the hands of our Father. Trust me! Whenever there have been issues, I have prayed to God to mend broken relationships, He has been more than and ever faithful to take off the pain, and restore wholeness again. While I was going through this phase of soreness, God had the humor sense of letting someone I have upset big time, to show me overflowing kindness, honor and love. She happens to be a very significant figure and over a long time I have regretted deeply for having to make her a victim of my terribleness. But, how God turns the plate for she had persistently given my hurt to God and RECEIVED love for me from Him, in return. That makes my assignment clearer and clarified – Greatly Love!
Let someone’s ignorance in your life, make you be overwhelmingly thankful for the ones who have longed for your company, the ones who have been generous to you during their pregnant phases, the ones who regularly check on you, the ones who lavish you with encouragement and sees the brightness of God in you, the ones who have paid for your food when they barely had enough money, the ones who will come running to greet you, the ones who have never disrespected you, the ones who will constantly pray for you and the ones who will never give upon you even when they see your worst. When we are thankful for them, we are led to do something significant. Also, we learn to be a good friend to the new people God brings into our lives.
We were once, His enemies. He, a faithful friend laid down His life to make us His friends, children and siblings. Since, He already went through what we are going through, He will save you from immense agony. Give it to God, for He knows best! The bible clearly says that we need to be mindful of our friends and once we have them in our lives, we have to stay consciously clean about our thoughts and actions towards them. Yes, we cannot be close friends with many and we got to ignore some. But again, if your motives are right and if God is giving you a peace to do what you are doing, then there isn’t a fault to it. But, if our motives are totally to demean, compare, and ignore; then that’s not God backing us up. Re-examine! We will know if we are still pampering hurts in our hearts when we cannot bless the person in prayer or cannot be happy for them when the goodness of God shines on their lives.
“A person who cannot forgive and forget is a person who has forgotten what they have been forgiven off. As Christians, we have no right to be offended, or keep offenses” – John Bevere.