Do We Love Everyone? No!
Can We Love Everyone? Yes!
What?! We are Recycled Moms and many of us are children of the One True God. We should automatically be fountains of love, pouring out on a hurting world. Right? Well yes, but how does that happen? Not everyone is lovable. We live in a harsh, ugly environment where despicable people do horrid things. The daily news always has reports of rapes, thefts, murders, child abuse and abductions and countless more atrocities. I don’t know about you, but I cannot just automatically love a child abuser or a rapist or someone who has just committed mass murder.
Many of us have people in our family or close to us who commit horrible acts or who treat us poorly. Mothers fail us, fathers can be cold or harsh, siblings often bully or ignore us, and lifelong friends betray us. Spouses cheat and children abandon us, leaving us with wounds and burdens. We resent many people. We are flawed human beings and live emotional lives therefore we abhor what makes us feel bad. But Jesus told us to love everyone, didn’t He? Therefore, it is possible.
- And so there remain Faith, Hope, Love–these three; and of these the greatest is Love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
I will provide a true story of redemption. A young woman grew up with a mentally ill mother who was cold and unable to ever show love. This girl never once heard her mother said, “I love you” and wept to recall that her mother literally drew away when she attempted to hug the mother during a time of distress. It was not a happy childhood. The girl was raped as a young child, sexually abused by family members and grew bitter as a result, holding the mother’s neglect responsible. She left the family and the area when she was old enough and never came back, discarding her family as they had discarded and disregarded her. After decades, she came to know the biblical command regarding love and honoring family. Alas, it was too late since her mother had died, but she resolved to love her anyway even if making amends was not possible.
When she thought of her mother, the negative and bitter memories would be front and center, so she intentionally thought of something beautiful and positive about her mother. These were few and far between, but every single human being has done a few things right and memories surfaced. The girl owned a photograph of her parents on their wedding day and scrutinized it. Her mother had a tiny, tiny, waist and midnight black hair. After that, when she had ugly, unloving thoughts regarding her mother, they were replaced with ones that showed the mother in a positive light. She recalled the beauty of the wedding photograph, the fact that her mother had obviously given her attention. The girl had food, shelter, and clothing. It took many long months and hours of praying on her knees before it became habit but it did and the love was released while hate was imprisoned.
Finally, after all the years of hating her mother, my friend speaks of the woman who gave her life with love and gentleness. Does that mean all the atrocities are forgotten? Of course not. Forgiveness does not require forgetting but the opposite. When we remember what is right in people, we can love them. Everyone was once an innocent baby with God’s life plan open before him or her. THAT is who we love. That is mankind in the image of God.
By choosing love, we can offer our Recycled kids a better opportunity at life. They can grow up knowing forgiveness and walking in it all their days. They can love the one who has been mean or hurtful to them and move past it. It builds character, integrity and strength. It is a hard thing to accept but true. Many grandparents resent the children they have taken in to raise. I have seen it over and over. These adults hold the children responsible for the actions of the parents who chose their own selfish desires and abandoned the kid. By choosing to love instead of wallowing in bitterness, we can build a family and move forward.
Many of you will recall the old Cherokee legend of the Two Wolves
Which Wolf Do You Feed?
An elder Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me…it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. “The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. “This same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person too,” he added. The Grandchildren thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed…”
We CAN love everyone by remembering who they are in Christ. No little girl ever dreamed of growing up to be a prostitute and not one tiny boy planned to become a rapist, murderer or drug addict. See past the physical into the dimension of what could have been and love THAT person. Yes, it takes work and time. It is painful. The outcome for us and our Recycled kids is priceless. The heart is capable of conforming to what we feed it. Choose love, not acceptance as society insists, but real love that refuses to compromise integrity and morality. Only then can we be gentle in word and action, recycling bitterness ugliness and loneliness into peace, beauty and family. That heart of stone becomes a honeycomb of sweetness, providing lifesaving sweetness to dying souls.
Now go love someone. We all can do this.