The Gift of Love in a Dark Place

“If you ever find yourself in a dark place, look closely; you may just be the light.” -unknown

God grows us all in a dark place. It’s in the darkness, we are able to find our light, God’s light. A seedling burrowed deep inside the soil, a caterpillar inside a cocoon, a baby in it’s mother’s womb, mankind during trials and tribulation—we all experience growth followed by new life and a newfound freedom when we arise from the dark place, and God’s love is the very thing that grows us.

We are called to mirror God’s love for us to the rest of the world. We are to lead by example, His example. As followers of Jesus, we are called to a deeper demonstration of love which is undeserving, unrepayable, and unearned. We are called to love on people, all people, the way Jesus did.

God has been continually calling me to have a deeper love for people over the years. It’s not easy.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting repayment in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:32-36)

Whoa. I remember the exact moment I read that verse for the first time. It hit me so hard, I had to actually write it down. This verse shows the loving wisdom from God that is distinguishable from any other kind of wisdom. Jesus tells us it’s easy to love people who are nice to us, but it takes true love to love those who wrong us and those who have no love in them. This takes dying to yourself because your flesh is going to tell you to fight, to put those people in their places, to give nothing, or to “give them the same energy back”. The world would call this type of love being a “pushover” or “doormat”. For a long time, I struggled with this. Then, one day God gave me the wisdom to realize that wasn’t the case. “Pushovers” give out of fear—whether it be fear of the people they are giving to or fear of standing up for themself. Followers of Christ choose to give, not out of fear, but out of genuine love and because that’s the example Jesus Himself set.

We are called to be forgiving, merciful, slow to anger, and peaceable. We aren’t expected to give beyond our means or until we have nothing left. It is, however, good to give something and expect nothing. We really shouldn’t be keeping score, but instead giving what is sensible for us to give.

There’s an older lady I work with, and sometimes it seems like we are quite literally in competition with each other to see who can bless the other one more. Let me tell you, it brings such joy to give to this woman! It’s easy. Giving to people who give back is easy and makes us feel good. We need to remember the importance of giving to those who we know won’t give back in return. It produces a certain level of character inside of us.

On the other hand, there are a couple of younger ladies I work with. When I announced the publication of my book, neither of them so much as gave me a congratulations. I’m going to be honest, my flesh told me to give them that same energy when the opportunity presented itself a couple of weeks later. I’m grateful God gave me those opportunities because it gave me the opportunity to know my spirit, who I really am, who I choose to be.

Our war is not against flesh and blood but against powers, principalities, the rulers of this dark world. (Ephesians 6:12)

We have to stop seeing people as the enemy and instead the darkness they are overcome by. We have to love the people who are hardest to love because those are the ones who need it most. Sometimes we have to love from afar, sometimes we have to love by leading an example.

Sometimes showing love to someone who shows no love to you is a lot like waking yourself up from a bad dream. Have you ever had a nightmare, you realize it’s a dream, and you force yourself to wake up out of it? It takes a lot of energy, doesn’t it? You have to do it, though to break free. You have to be the light someone else needs in order to break free from the darkness; you have to wake up and become love in the dark place.

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