by Chaplain Adele M. Gill
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Like any loving parent, Father God stands in wait for our anguished pleas, for us to turn to Him so He can help us meet our daily needs and challenges. Though He first loved us, He calls us to love Him, and others, with all our heart and soul. In fact, loving others—especially those who are difficult to love, is one great way that we express our love for God and answer His calling. We need to remember the times we have not been difficult or lovable ourselves, and use that as a starting point to build on in our relationships hence we slip into complacency.
Certainly with this mandate to love, it is important for us to be at peace with everyone in our lives lest hatred, loathing, and unforgiveness take root in us. Yet, what is it about our humanness that leads us to anger and disharmony with others that think and do differently than we do? Perhaps that is a question we’d prefer to answer another day, but there is no time like the present.
Hatred for others has the power to enable people to be ruled by their negative feelings. It can destroy lives, especially those who harbor deep anger, and remove all God given peace and joy in the process making us bitter. Hatred can be insidious, sometimes getting a foothold when we are fully unaware it is happening. When we hate others we know, we sometimes give up that peace and joy in the name of being self-righteous with the need to be right, superior or hostile, which are all counter-intuitive to God’s love for us.
But what about when we hate or fear those we do not know or respect, simply because they think differently than we do, especially in the current social climate? Well, the effects of hatred still apply—possibly in greater measure, as there is no room for negotiation. When the loathing of an individual involves an acquaintance, or even a public figure you do not personally know, judgement abounds. And the effects of hatred can linger on for years with no closure. Yet, as Christians, we know that there is but one judge, and human judgement of others should have no place in our lives, as one cannot love others and judge them all at the same time. We need to make a choice.
We need to ask for God’s Will in discernment of what is good and right and true, and seek out those things. When we differ with the beliefs or actions of others, whether we personally know them or not, it is best to step away and respectfully try to agree to disagree when necessary. The cost of giving away one’s peace and joy is steep and should be avoided at all costs. There is great power in coexistence and civility. Let that be a goal we strive for in our daily lives.
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6
© Copyright 2018 | Adele M. Gill
Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, ABDA is author of 3 books including “From Broken to Blest: Embracing the Healing that Awaits You,’ written with Dr. Verna Benner Carson. From Broken to Blest is now available on Amazon and Barnes at Noble in print, Nook & Kindle versions. Please click on this link: https://amzn.to/2pNt9Sk