Love is costly. God’s love brings vulnerability and seeks others highest good. When I love others the way God calls me to I will get hurt along the way. I am guaranteed to be hurt because I love imperfect people just like me, and in my love, I don’t always seek the highest good of others before myself.
Zeph 3:17 “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears.”
I am learning a lot about love through conflict. You may be familiar with the scenario, you make plans for the weekend with someone dear to you (friend, husband, boyfriend, etc), along the way communication breaks down and other plans seem to take precedent over you. When this happened to me I felt frustrated, angry, hurt, discouraged and rejected. I felt abandoned. The feelings were so intense, yet the actions that caused them were so minor. I could not feel God’s love, I was not calm, vulnerable nor seeking the other person’s good. In the moment I couldn’t see past my feelings. I was just angry and hurt. The scripture above moved me because it brought my attention to God as my savior, rescuer, deliverer, and emancipator. He was there but I was too focused on me to see Him. Therein lies the trap.
Eph 4:26 “And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.'”
As the emotions boiled inside me I just got angrier. In my hurt and out of anger I said how I felt and hung up the phone. I didn’t do it in the classiest way, but in my own way it was me stepping away before saying anything I could regret. Yes, I could have handled that better but it kept me from sinning more in my anger and taught me how to handle it better next time.
We all have our hot buttons. The hot button on my heart is connected to an accumulation of a lifetime of emotions, including the painful ones. When someone I care about unknowingly pushes that button it does not only bring out the emotions of the moment but can be exponentially amplified by past pain. In that moment I have two choices, to let my emotions control me or turn them over to God and give him room to work. After I hung up the call I cried, prayed, and called a close mentor to talk it through. Letting God work meant taking the time to step away from the person who hurt me, whom I love, and turn instead to God, His Word, my journal and a close confidant for perspective to help me work through it. It’s the time and space I need to go to God instead of turning my wrath on the person who presses my hot button and triggers an explosion. When we spoke again I could articulate my emotions more clearly and had worked through them enough to seek the other person’s good because by the time we spoke I was resolved. Going to God resulted in vulnerability and seeking to understand the other.
Matt 5:25 “settle matters quickly with your adversary…”
We will fight with those we love. We will hurt them and they will hurt us as we fail to see their highest good in given situations. It’s what I do with that hurt and how long I choose to hang on to it that makes all the difference. If I hold onto hurt and don’t deal with it, it will steal love from me. Ultimately, it can even pull me away from God as I turn from love and try to shield myself from all that comes with it – vulnerability, risk, pain, putting someone before myself – I miss out on love. If I miss out on love I miss out on God.
1 John4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Fighting isn’t always a bad thing, it can teach us about one another and ourselves. What I am learning is that the goal is not not to fight, its quick repair and resolution. I learned about my hot button and I learned how turning it over to God means to shift my focus from the person I’m fighting with to God, to seek comfort in Him first so as to be able to forgive and grow in love. To continue to love the person and God I must first let go. To hold onto the pain, or in my anger unleash it on another person will only prevent me from experiencing the one thing I ultimately want: love. By going to God I experience the truest form of love, because He is Love. Resolve things quickly and lean into God’s love, He is the ultimate caretaker of our heart and with time even the hot button can cool or at the very least become harder to push.