RE: Enemies. Love is Action
I had a conversation with my husband recently about loving someone who's hurt me deeply. I was telling him that what I see about love in the Bible, especially during Paul's discourse on loving one's enemies, is that it has to do with your actions. Feelings may not catch up to our decision. You read Paul talking about "if you enemy is hungry, give them something to eat. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink" (Romans 12:20). He doesn't focus on what might be happening internally. It's not about whether or not you feel like it. It's one of those examples of the ways we step out in faith to do the right thing.
A dear friend shared that feelings may never catch up with our decisions because we have memories. I have not developed Alzheimer's . When people say to forgive and to forget, it has more to do with not holding a trepass (or trespasses) against the person after you've chosen to forgive, but rather to take steps toward walking out the decision to forgive. To make progress doesn't eliminate the pain. Strength arises from learning to endure the pain for the sake of righteousness. The pleasure principle doesn't have a place in Christianity.
Not everything that feels good is good for us. Avoiding pain and frustrations would yield to a world of fantasy and inhibit growth. However, it' important to grow in life. When you stop growing, you start dying. Hanging onto unforgiveness toward someone would be akin to picking up a piping hot pan with bare hands, screaming in agony, and not releasing it.
I need to pause to discuss the issue of passing judgment. Whenever we put ourselves on a throne, in the place where God belongs, we inadvertently usurp His rightful, divine place. He knows things that we don't know. He sees people differently than we do. His heart is for your offender to turn from his/her ways and to turn to Him. We know that He is righteous and has promised to care for us. If we can proclaim that God is good, yet we cannot trust Him to care for us, we are inconsistent in our relationship with Him.
When he calls us to go or give or to forgive, we have to find a way to equate those commandments. It's easier to obey God in instances when we think things are working out in our favor. It's much harder to believe Him when he's calling us into uncharted waters with the lack of clarity that this step is good for us. "Love is action" applies here too. Childlike faith does wonders for us in taking steps of obedience in difficult circumstances.
"Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written:
'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' On the contrary,“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.…" Romans 12:19-21