Matthew 5:10-12 (NIV)
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
It is not always comforting to read about persecution as a cause for joy, nor is it particularly motivating to know that it is not something we can or should even try to avoid, but knowing that we are not alone in it and that, in fact, Jesus walked through the same struggles before us does give us hope. In my experience the greatest source of misunderstanding often surrounds expressions of love through acts of service, kindness or compassion. The times I am expressing love in the most genuine, unadulterated form it seems I am met with rejection, anger and sometimes an end to a relationship. [Insert your scenario here...is it a client who walked away...a co-laborer who shut you out...a ministry that denied partnership...a family member who does not accept your work...and the list goes on...]
It can be confusing that expressing God's heart of love can be such a source of conflict. Yet isn't that truly what Jesus was met with, the one who always at all times was expressing love from an unadulterated, genuine place with no ulterior motive except the benefit of another? Take heart that you are not alone that true love expressed to us and through us stirs up a struggle and response sometimes even suprising to ourselves. Reflect on how you react to pure expressions of love, the way you may shrink back, try to hide or sometimes run away...as we grow and learn in this we can be assured that living fully from a place of love is not the wrong way...love forges paths to freedom, tears down walls of resistance and opens prison doors!
Do not loose heart at the empty places left by those you reached out to in love...it was not in vain, it was not unnecessary and it was not the wrong thing to do. If Jesus who walked out love perfectly was rejected, despised and shut out by so many...then we can conclude that it is more about what is going on in the exchange, the intention and motive of the heart and what is being stirred and moved that matters. Love moves so often in the unseen! May the eyes of our heart be open to see beyond the natural! May we love no matter the cost!
Be freed to love again, no matter the cost!