Categories
spirituality

Love builds resilience

It is God’s love that gives us the resilience to walk through the most terrifying moments with the confidence that they will yield good outcomes of a spiritual nature in our lives. 

Holding on to his divine love saves us from losing our ability to be grateful, loving and forgiving in the cruelest of circumstances. 

As we walk with God, we know everything is going to pass. At the end of the tunnel, there is light, goodness and unfailing love.

Categories
forgiveness

Forgiving our abusers to heal

Life isn’t about what happens to us, but how we react to it. If we choose hatred and unforgiveness, we become a reflection of both.

I watch countless true crime docuseries and the look on most victims of abuse, or relatives of these victims, is unmistakable. They spend most of their lives enslaved by resentment, hopelessness and an unforgiving heart.

They bury themselves alive and blame their abusers for it. Yet nobody has the power to bury us alive except ourselves.

We become a reflection of the people we choose to hate by keeping ourselves connected to them through a bond of hatred.

The desire to move forward is not enough. These chains can only be broken with love and forgiveness.

Forgiveness is an undeserved grace we receive. When we know that, we are humbled and filled with the desire to extend it to others. Because we all fall short of being good.

Loving ourselves is not genuine unless we can also love our abusers. As I explained in ‘Loving people we dislike’, we can love people we dislike and still not keep them in our lives if they don’t show repentance.

We need to allow ourselves to be divinely filled with forgiveness and love for our abusers.

Only then can we truly love ourselves, and heal.

Categories
recovery

Loving people we dislike

Many of us don’t know the difference between loving and liking one another. Keeping people close that we don’t genuinely like doesn’t work and can wreak havoc in our lives.

We can love everyone spiritually. But liking anyone depends on compatibility and is for select people who, through their actions, have earned our appreciation and company.

When someone treats people (including ourselves) in hurtful ways, we are perfectly able to love them – if we genuinely have a relationship with God. But we will not be able to like them. They don’t deserve us, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

After all, not all company edifies us. We seek good company that we like: peaceful, joyful, loving, forgiving, thoughtful. And, yes, interesting and fun.

Company that makes us feel uncomfortable, judged, hurt, offended, manipulated, insulted or even just bored and disinterested is therefore not likeable. It is a blessing to love these people, but we don’t have to seek their company or force ourselves to like them.

We need to learn to gracefully handle people whose presence doesn’t edify us. They don’t need to be active participants in our lives.

Our calling is to love them. Pray for them. Help them. And wish for their hearts to be transformed so they can enjoy a love that will enable them to treat us as we expect to be treated.

We can bring them back into our lives as friends, family or partners if they demonstrate a change of attitude with actions (not words) for a significant amount of time, so we see consistency.

Remember: We are called to love one another, not to like everyone.

Anything beyond that is self-righteous and will destroy us.

Categories
recovery

The Love imprint that heals

When our minds and hearts are set in forgiveness, mercy and love, we have found the way. It leads to a life that death has no power over.

Yet if we still spend time judging others and withholding our forgiveness, because we don’t believe certain people deserve it, we haven’t really found the way. These are all signs of brokenness.

Only a forgiving, merciful heart that is always ready to love everyone, particularly those that haven’t earned it, reflects a genuine spiritual calling and transformation.

Our surrender and humble willingness to depend on the One who made us is all it takes. Usually this happens when we hit rock bottom and, in our brokenness, realize we can’t do it anymore.

That’s what it takes for us to understand that only he can heal our wounds and replace them with his powerful joy.

When we let his peace arbitrate in our hearts we experience peace that exceeds all understanding, regardless of circumstances.

Only he can take what this world meant for evil and turn it for good. By making all things work for our good as we rely on him, he gives us a new life to enjoy, full of divine love, joy and peace.

Categories
love

We are united by Love

Many of us have turned to attack one another as we react to fear. A fear we would not have if Love were the master of our lives.

We have to be very careful at all times, but these times are particularly treacherous. There are many trials we are facing, but the main one is our ability to love one another.

When so many people start preaching violence, neglect and exclusion as means to do what is good or build a peaceful community, the darkness of this world is in full effect.

We don’t pick sides, but we must take a stand. Love is our stand.

We are not called to be silent and live in a spiritual cave, but to use every opportunity to be agents of peace.

We are not loving one another by keeping silent to avoid conflict, when our hearts feel strongly against what is being said or done. We can, and should, show our love by speaking peacefully and firmly as we assert our values founded on Love.

We are not called to oppress, but to speak up for Love, forgiveness, compassion, peace – and this not at the expense of others.

We don’t have to speak against anything or anyone. Let’s raise our voices to speak only about the Love that can unite us and not join any other conversation that is focused on dividing us.

Categories
love

Intellectual debate won’t make us wiser. Love will.

Most of my life I was known as an intellectual. I still am an intellectual. But intellect never brought me balance.

No amount of knowledge ever made me peaceful. I enjoyed being acknowledged for my intellect, but there was always debate going on about everything. And there was no truth, only competing perspectives.

One of the most fundamental changes that I’ve experienced after my conversion was a progressive detachment from this obsessive compulsive disorder we all suffer from called debate.

Most of the time, wherever there is a need for debate, love is lacking. On the other hand, wherever love is abundant, there is no need or incentive for debate.

I never feel like debating – I’ve learned to either keep quiet or vocally refuse to join. Having a background in journalism and a history of winning over debates, this is a radical change – and a wonderful one that’s brought peace to my interactions with people.

Nonetheless I am genuinely interested in the well being of those around me, so here is one strategy that I find more meaningful and efficient to produce change both in and around me:

– If I disagree with something that is being said or done, instead of debating it, I focus on acting in a way such that reflects my vision as opposed to investing in showcasing my perspective to either convince (win) or accept (lose) against someone else’s perspective.

There’s nothing more powerful than actions. So why spend so much valuable energy on debate? The world and particularly the Internet is already full of it – and there is a profound lack of love in it.

When we’re lead by love, we learn how to transcend the dynamics of this world to shield ourselves from all its nonsensical behavior.

Categories
forgiveness

We heal when we forgive everyone

Forgiveness sets us free, but selective forgiveness has the opposite effect. We only heal when we forgive everyone.

No exceptions.

Serial killers, dictators, rapists? People who have cheated, abused and committed crimes against us? Yes, we are called to forgive them too. Our calling is to forgive the whole world.

If we forgive only the people who we think deserve to be forgiven, we are doing nothing more than judging them based on merit and singling them out.

When we take this path, we inevitably feed resentment. That’s how we end up chained to the people we can’t forgive. 

We have to forgive everyone. Instantly.

Forgiveness is an attitude towards life. Even people who have no relationship with God know that. What they don’t know is that it is only by God’s grace that we can forgive with a loving heart.

When we seek him first, we experience the power of forgiveness as a blessing. And it releases us from our chains straight into his loving arms, where we enjoy his peace and joy.

Categories
forgiveness

We know we are forgiven when we repent

Genuine repentance, sincere and fruitful, produces change of mind, attitude and posture. But we are only capable of repentance when God forgives us. 

God’s forgiveness is what produces repentance. 

The blessing of repentance comes from God. He crushes us, provoking our heart. He knows us, he wants us, and he forgave us through Jesus across time and space. 

Yet we are creatures of spacetime and, every time we sin, we need his eternal forgiveness to provoke our repentance. 

Without divine forgiveness, there is no repentance.

Repentance is always preceded by divine forgiveness. We have to be crushed by God’s sovereign forgiveness that turns us inside out to surrender. As we surrender, we are transformed. 

Our spirit recognizes a sovereignty that comes before any human conclusion. So even those who don’t genuinely believe in God experience repentance. Repentance is God’s power at play.

When we repent, we know that God has forgiven us.

Categories
love spirituality

Rebuilding our love bonds with a spirit of repentance

Every relationship that we have will experience cracks in its structure at some point. But we can mend those cracks, or even rebuild a broken bond, with a spirit of repentance.

Love teaches us to repent and live life with a renewed spirit that makes possible what wasn’t possible before. We are given a chance to do what is right and move on with a hopeful spirit.

While the world puts a lot of weight on “telling the truth”, repentance is about actions, not words.

We are called to rebuild our love bonds with repentance through a change in our attitude. It is our actions that express love.

This means that if a hurtful truth from which we wholeheartedly repent is bound to break our love bond, Jesus isn’t calling us to tell it and crush someone with its unbearable weight.

We’re not called to tell a truth that crushes. Destructive truths can only destroy. Instead, we are called to live the truth of our repentance and rebuild our love bonds with love.

Categories
love recovery

Always be the good company that others are grateful for

Being good company is about loving our company – something that the coaches, books or articles of this world cannot teach.

Like me, you’ve probably experienced your share of company that is unhelpful in the course of your life. What we can do is forgive those who hurt us and be more selective about the people who we allow to come closer to us moving forward.

When we let go of what doesn’t do us good, we make space for what brings good to our lives.

We should never, ever be too busy when others that we know need us. And when we make ourselves available, there is yet another stepping stone: being good company.

This world might have forgotten what being good company is like, but we should not.

We laugh with those who laugh, and cry with those who cry.

We don’t ridicule others.

We don’t look down on or judge others we don’t like, but pray for them.

We encourage each other with hopeful, peaceful and loving words.

We don’t oppress one another with the expectations of this world, but listen to what we need and what is good for our spirit.

We remind each other that everything is possible for the One who made us when something seems impossible.

We rejoice in the fact that all things contribute to our good, and that the struggles of this world can’t crush us.

We happily offer practical help and not simply wait until there is an urgency or emergency to step up.

We make sure our “yes” is a “yes” and our “no” is a “no”, because we won’t be good company to someone when we say the opposite of what’s in our hearts.

Setting boundaries is important, so we know what and how much we can give. This way, we won’t raise false expectations in others that we know we can’t meet.

Good company makes us grateful because they are available, helpful and a joy to be around thanks to their noticeable appreciation for us.

Our love for one another should be felt in our words, but most importantly in our actions. These actions could be as simple as a heartfelt hug, or taking a real interest in how someone is doing instead of just asking and letting it be.

I’d like to encourage all of us to put in more love in our interactions with others. Let’s take the time to let them know what we appreciate about them whenever there is an opportunity and not just leave it on that note.

Let’s remain a constant presence in their lives in loving ways and show we are grateful for each other’s lives.