This is the first of a five-part series called “Five Essentials to Healing.”
If a person does not believe that you love me, they will likely not give you a chance to speak into his or her life. They won’t even give you a chance to bring healing if they do not think you care about them and are not looking to do harm or exercise some agenda. They need to know you love them. Then their hearts will be open and trusting of your words and your acts of kindness that would assist in their healing.
All of us have wounds of some kind. We all have experienced violations and betrayals that have done damage to us. Or maybe we have made mistakes that have lead to some consequences that we wished we could have avoided. Either way, we all have scars, though some deeper than others.
So how do we heal? How do we help others heal?
It all begins with love. Let me be careful when I use that word because depending on who you ask, you will get a number of perspectives of what love is. I’m not talking about a love that simply makes a person feel good, but one that can literally uproot the source of our pain. What is so effective and powerful about love? Well, Romans 13:10 says, “love does no wrong/harm to your neighbor.” 1 Corinthians 8:1 says, “…love builds up.” In other words, genuine love does not harm or hurt anyone, but its nature is to bring healing and to strengthen.
Let’s be clear about what love is NOT. Many people seem to think that love is equivalent to tolerance (a permissive attitude towards opinions and behavior). It is to the point today where if a person does not agree with someone they are considered to be unloving. Thank God he never stopped loving me in spite of the times in my life when my heart, behavior, and lifestyle did not actually agree with his commandments. Yet he never dismissed the standards by which we were called to live. He loved me to the point where my heart, more and more, would embrace those standards.
I want to highlight the perfect picture of love for us. It’s an example that we can all learn from when it comes to loving family, friends and even strangers. In the Gospel of John we find Jesus in a situation with a woman caught in adultery. In John chapter 8 she is brought to Jesus by scribes and Pharisees to see how Jesus would “judge” her. Remember, she was caught. Not sure why the man was not brought to Jesus, but we do know she had violated the law and according to the law was supposed to be stoned. Jesus responds with a simple, yet profound statement, “Go, and from now on sin no more.” This is the perfect balance of what love looks like.
When he told her to go, he was extending her grace. Here’s what he was not doing. He was not saying that what she did didn’t matter. He was not saying, “oh, that’s not that big of a deal.” He was not saying, “well no one’s perfect so don’t worry about it.” What he was saying was that he recognized she, like everyone else, needed to experience the potentially life-changing impact of grace and compassion. He was saying that even she qualified for grace. His ultimate goal is “life,” not death (John 10:10). God will give grace so that we can experience life. Everyone needs to know that we all need and are qualified for God’s grace found in Jesus Christ. Grace is a part of the essence of who Jesus is (See John 1:14).
But wait a minute. He said something else to her, he didn’t stop at “go.” He went on to tell her, “from now on sin no more.” Here is the other side of love. He held her accountable to a standard. She would have been familiar with the law as a Jewish woman. He didn’t just let her off the hook, but he told her to not go back to living that life of sin. Here’s what he wasn’t saying. He wasn’t saying to her that she couldn’t commit another sin for the rest of her life, which would be impossible. He wasn’t saying to her that she couldn’t make a mistake ever again. What he was saying, without using these words, “you are better than what you just got caught doing.” I heard a friend of mine, Kevin Weaver, once say, “love won’t leave you in that condition.” He never judged her. He never condemned her. Instead he challenged the accuser’s ability to love.
What does that look like today? It is the willingness to listen to a person’s heart. That shows that you actually care about how they are feeling and about what is going on in their lives. It is also being patient with them. You don’t force healing, you promote it. Healing from injuries to the body or to the heart takes time. Gentleness, in a hard world, is a must. No matter how much you may want to ring their necks to “get it,” be gentle. The Bible teaches in Galatians 6:1, “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual (have the Spirit within through relationship with Jesus) should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” Lastly, affirm people. Speak the truth about them to them. Remind them of how God sees them, but also about the things that they can see that are true about them. Let them know they are gifted, special, and have potential. Let them know that God absolutely loves them, that he cares for them and he will see them through to healing. Speak powerful words of encouragement and affirmation to them. It is not the random act of kindness of intentional acts of kindness. It is giving of your time, energy and resources without expecting it back in return because love gives. If a person sees consistency in these areas, they will let you in and the journey towards healing can begin.
Look around you and you will see love in the form of grace without accountability, people who will turn an eye at immorality and say it is because they love them. Look even further and you will also see accountability without grace, the accountability police ready to judge everyone and everything coming off as judgmental, never really looking in the mirror to see their own stuff. Let your life and ministry be fueled by love.
Everything that we will aim to do at Own Your Faith Ministries will be done with a spirit of love, the balance of GRACE and ACCOUNTABILITY. The task is to lead with love because the goal is to bring healing. Healing then allows for them to be built up to #ownurfaith!
Next week’s topic is “Truth” in the five part series on “Essentials to Healing.”