I walked down the aisle towards the altar and I felt the present of the Lord so strongly. With each step I took, my strides became slower and slower. I kept my eyes on the altar and passed groups of people praying for one another.
It seemed to take forever to reach my destination. I couldn’t understand why it felt like my feet had anvils strapped to them. All I wanted to do was lift my hands and worship God. I wanted to lay every burden at His feet and reach the altar where I could fall on my knees in surrender.
And then, out of the corner of my eye I saw what was holding me down; two dumbbells in my hands. I was shocked. Why do I have dumbbells at church? And why was I carrying them to the altar?
Before I could make sense of the weight I carried, I made eye contact with one of the other ladies and without warning I woke up.
It was just a dream.
As soon as I came to, the dream was on my mind. The images of the weights and the woman were seared into my brain and I couldn’t let them go. I asked God what it could mean and I searched for the lesson in it.
As soon as I asked God for the meaning, the Lord spoke softly to my soul and said, “I never said she was unlovable; you did.”
It all came together in an instant. The weight I carried was the difficulty I had in trying to connect with the woman. I thought she was unlovable so I kept my distance and made small talk. But I wasn’t showing love and in return, God told me to deal with it before I laid my sacrifice at the altar.
No One is Unloveable
I can’t find the word “unlovable” in the Bible. I see lots of verses that mean the same thing but not the actual word “unlovable”. Why? Because God never deemed anyone unlovable. The Bible tells us the exact opposite in the famous verse, John 3:16. “For God SO loved the word, He gave his only begotten Son that whosever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
This tells us two things:
*First, God loves EVERYONE
*Second, everyone is a WHOSEVER
We are the only ones who have ever deemed anyone as unlovable. But, who gives us the right to say someone is unlovable? They may be difficult to love, but they’re not unlovable.
God asks us to do a lot of hard things and one of them is loving people that are hard for us to love. Let’s be honest, sometimes people aren’t easy to love. That’s why the Bible tells us to love our enemies and do good to those who abuse us.
The woman in my dream wasn’t an enemy. She was just a woman I didn’t click with. I don’t know why it was so hard for me to show her love. I thought if I stayed away, ignored her and kept my distance long enough she would go away. Did I handle the situation right by showing indifference?
But God showed me I only treated her that way because I branded her as unlovable.
Our culture fails at defining love
There are a lot of terms about love these days, such as “love for all”, or “love is love” and “love yourself”. But God is the only one who has defined love because He is love and love comes from Him.
1 Cor 13 is the chapter most read at weddings, but it doesn’t only apply to marital relationships. Every relationship we have has to be measured up to the description of love in 1 Cor 13. It’s like a checklist for how someone treats you or how you treat them.
There are different intensities of love, but the same definition. For example, I love my husband with a deeper love than anyone else, but the definition of love for everyone must measure up to God’s description.
Am I patient with everyone? Kind to my friends, my children and my spouse? Am I envious of others and do I boast? Do I keeping track of how they wronged me or do I not rejoice in the truth and believe in all things?
Love is not choosing who to love and when. It’s self-sacrificial. It has nothing to do with the giver and everything to do with the one receiving the love. That’s why the phrase, “love is love” is wrong. It’s not how you or I define it. It has to live up to God’s standard and description of love.
How do you know if you love God?
Love isn’t about what you confess with your mouth; it’s about the evidence in action. Every word that defines love is a verb: kind, patient, hopes, believes. And when we show love when it’s hard to love, we show we love God.
In 1 John 4:20, The Bible tells us, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”
The Lord showed me in my dream that I couldn’t raise in my hands in worship and love for Him when I couldn’t show love to another one of His own. When we show love to the hard to love, and deny ourselves what we feel, we show we truly love God.
Love is more than a feeling. It’s a choice to do what God commands because we love Him. It’s more than speaking the words and being a sounding gong and a clanging symbol. When action and confession collide and love is evident in how we treat others … that’s love.
My challenge to you today is to evaluate whether or not you’ve deemed anyone as hard to love in your life. Do you shy away from those you’ve branded as unlovable? As you can see, I’ve been there.
I want to encourage you to take it to the Lord in prayer. Don’t allow it to become a weight of hinderance in your life. God wants us to be free to live out His commands and worship Him in truth. He will help you love those who are hard to love.
And showing love is one of the ways people recognize that we belong to Him. The world needs more love today. They need to be shown love through a smile, a word of encouragement or even a quick “hello”. Those things cost us nothing but make small impacts along the way.
For more about this topic, listen to this week’s podcast episode on Her Faith Inspires, “Is it love or is it lust” by clicking here.
Also, to receive a free lesson of #Boymom by Shanda Fulbright, click here.