Saturday, October 6, 2012

Love in the Crisis

You do not know how strong your faith is, how real your belief in Christ is, until it's put to the test with a crisis.  This crisis can be a betrayal by a close friend or spouse, by a co-worker or trusted employee, or by someone you've been kind to in imitation of Christ who then defrauds you and takes something from you.  This is when you find out how deep your faith goes and how much you truly believe in God's love.

On several occasions, I have found myself being tested this way.  Each time thus far, I have chosen to love the person in spite of their betrayal, just as Christ loves me in spite of the many times I have betrayed Him.  This does not mean that the betrayal doesn't hurt me, or that the cost isn't dear, or that I am not affected by the betrayal.  It does hurt, the cost is always high, and I am always affected by it. My choice to continue loving that person, in spite of what they have done and the pain they have caused, is not a reflection of my own personal holiness, but a measure of how much gratitude I have for the love God has shown me in spite of all that I have done and all the pain I have caused others in my life.  I love them, quite simply, because God loved me first and is teaching me how to be more like Him.

I stand at the edge of a crisis right now. I have reason to believe that my trust has been betrayed, that the love I have shown to another has been taken advantage of and abused.  However, I have already made my decision to continue loving this person even if it proves true that they have betrayed me.  If they take what I have from me, it was never mine anyway. It all belonged to God, and He has decided I do not need it anymore. If they lie to me, cheat me, and steal from me, I deserve it all.  I have done that and worse to others. Better that I should receive the wages of my sin here on earth than store THOSE up for after my death. Who am I to say that God did not allow them into my life precisely so that I might be so humbled?

It is easy to speak of love when things go your way and all is good with the world. However, love is not proven in such moments.  Love is proven when the worst happens, when the knife is in your back and your heart's been torn in two.  That is when you find out whether you really believe that God works all things for the good of those who love Him.  That's when you find out whether you truly are going to follow Christ and be willing to say, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do" even as you're nailed to the cross of their sins.

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