In the beginning we were made in God’s image and God is Love. Therefore, love feeds us. Love, given and received gives us life. Healthy persons desire love. It is also a desire for God because God is Love.
After making Adam, God did not say, “Man’s love relationship with me is adequate for him, he does not need anybody else.” Instead God said, “It is not good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him.”
All kinds of animals were made and Adam named them. Adam, seeing the dog, never said, “Oh, here is my best friend!”
When Adam saw Eve, he celebrated, “Finally, this one is bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh…” He fell in love with her and she with him, and their love for one another began glowing. In their love for one another God’s image appeared.
People seek love for happiness and joy. There are novels and songs written about love. Love feeds our souls. But love must also be fed. Forgiveness feeds love and nurtures it. I only found one local songwriter/singer, Marlene Kilpatrick, who understood this and, in her song called “Wishlist,” bundled love, happiness, joy and forgiveness together: impressive. If love, happiness, and joy are not bundled with forgiveness, that love is bound to be depleted and so will happiness and joy. Relationship without failure and disappointment is impossible.
However, people usually have unrealistic expectations. They usually do not give the right to disappoint to one another. Those who are not interested in forgiving their loved ones may also not like to apologize to provide healing. As they hold on to what suits their minds, love evaporates. Their relationship turns into two lonely people living together.
Disappointments can grow into bitterness and grudges. Some look for opportunities to punish the other one and feel righteous and powerful. That’s one way of substituting power for love. Power and love cannot coexist. One who loves power cannot love people. When hearts grow cold, hurt takes over and people, losing hope in love, substitute addictions to comfort themselves.
Choices of the people of the world should not influence you. Their relationships are based upon mutual benefit and self-interest sometimes hidden behind a warm façade to lure you into their scheme. Political correctness is their buzzword, not love.
Relationship without love can be dangerous and harmful; how can you trust people who chooses not to love you? And if they love, they will not forgive you. Love without forgiveness is destined to collapse and die. How can you enter into a relationship with someone who demands perfect performance from you? You will be blamed for their unhappiness.
And God offers better. We learn how to love from God who is Love and His Love is coupled with forgiveness.
God wants to be in a love relationship with you and that relationship begins by Him offering love and forgiveness to you. In Jesus, Love became a human being. We learn from Jesus how to love one another correctly. Jesus emptied Himself and served to others. He is the feet washing King and Lord, and called us to love and serve to one another in humility and grace, Himself being the role model. Because He loves you, therefore He forgives. Jesus’ love is others centred and is not possessive. He gives us freedom to submit to Him.
First you must belong to God by having faith in Jesus. As you live in a love relationship with God you are now offered to follow the example of Christ then be transformed by the Holy Spirit, gradually.
Since God is Love, you will choose love and forgiveness in spite of the ridicule and discouragement others may attempt to give you. People can become jealous of those who break their eggshells to become free. To keep you in their ranks, they will doubt the sincerity and the purity of the love you experience, in hope that their doubt will find home in your heart, so that you can give up and remain under their thumb.
You are free to choose love and forgiveness and live in Jesus. Then your spirit will sense others who have the same ambition and goal. Together your love for one another gives strength to participants. Forgiveness sustains the love relationship. The love in your group will glow. Those who prefer to manage their lives with their addictions will be repelled by the love and forgiveness you abide in, because seeing you they will know they are on the wrong path. Let them go. Others will be drawn to you out of thirst. They are the ones with whom you can share what makes you different. You don’t persuade, just offer. Some will join your group.
Continue to enjoy the life God has given you in love, happiness, joy and forgiveness. You are all aligned with God and you are in the right direction. That’s what matters.
Murat Kuntel is the pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.