The true beauty of this job is that you get to love others. Unconditionally. Like God loved us. Love like this though, always comes along with pain. Because in loving, we must give of ourselves; and in giving of ourselves, we suffer and hurt and get disappointed. It is hard to love others and expect nothing in return. It is even harder to love knowing that you will never receive that love back.
I’ve been trying to counsel a girl that is suffering a lot. Her name is Kristy*. She gets in trouble in school all the time: she hits other kids to the point of injure; she yells and curses her teachers out—she was abandoned by her mom a couple of months ago. I know and see the other Kristy that no one else in school gets to see: the girl that is longing for someone to love her, that hurts every time she remembers how mean and abusive her mother was towards her, and whom, she swears, she will never be able to forgive.
One afternoon, Kristy and I were talking about what it means to follow God. She had no idea what it meant to “accept Jesus”. We talked about the things that are right and are pleasing to God. We talked about the things she had been doing that did not align with God’s Word and what He expected from us. We shared things that we both knew we struggled with. We made a chart out of them and promised to hold each other accountable for putting our old-self “dead” and replacing it with our new selves. Our resolution looked something like this:
- Old Self: Lies—Replace with New Self: Being Honest
- Old Self: Being Argumentative—Replace with New Self: Being Submissive
- Old Self: Acting Out in Anger—Replace with New Self: Having Self-Control
Kristy understood how to replace lies right away. Almost every kid knows the difference between lying and telling the truth. She had no idea, though, what to replace being argumentative with, or what being submissive meant, or what self-control looked like. We talked about it for a long time, and she looked enthusiastic to begin this new journey and become someone new for Jesus. I was excited too.
Last week Kristy slipped back into her old ways and reacted in anger when a group of kids started to pick on her at school. Kristy was suspended for two days.
And this brings me back to the thought that prompted me to start writing this: I cannot imagine how much God loves us, that we sin against him once, and again, and again, and He is still there. He doesn’t give up on us. As humans, it is hard for us to love in this way. The minute we get hurt, we shut down doors; we remove what is hurting us or making us uncomfortable or scared; we send it away. I pray that God infects us with His love in such a way, that we are willing to love like He loved us. That we are willing to forgive despite of what others’ actions are, despite of their responses and their faults, and their wrong doings.
I ask that you join me in prayer for my friend Kristy as I meet with her today for the first time since her suspension. Pray that I am able to share with her the love that God has for her no matter what she does or fails to do. I believe that only then, will she be able to heal from her old wounds and find true joy and peace in His love.
*Kristy’s name has been changed