When I was about 6 or 7 years old, my uncle Robert was killed by a drunk driver while he was on his way home from work. I don’t remember too much about my uncle, except that he had a nice smile and had a ton of records. I’ve really gotten to know him over the years through stories that my dad has told us. One thing I know for sure is he was loved greatly throughout my entire family.
My grandpa Louie had always been huge on forgiveness, and, as I was growing up, I remember him talking to me about forgiving the kids at school that I couldn’t seem to get along with. I was constantly fighting with them and even got expelled from school for fighting at one point. Grandpa didn’t like it but he was always compassionate when he talked to me. When my uncle passed away I got to see the power of forgiveness through my grandpa to the person who killed my uncle.
Shortly after the accident, my grandpa went to visit the man who killed my uncle Robert. Grandpa Louie didn’t want to harbor any hate, so he went to tell the man that he forgave him and would pray for him. Grandpa knew what would happen if he held onto hatred for the man who killed his son, and he wanted to let go of all bitterness so that he could continue to have a fulfilling relationship with Jesus. Because of this gesture, my grandpa was able to show a drunken stranger and the rest of us the power of God’s love and forgiveness.
Would you be able to do what my grandfather did if someone took your child’s life? It would be hard, wouldn’t it? “He who abides in love abides in God,” is the epitome of the love God showed us when He sacrificed His perfect Son for our sake. Did He want his Son to die? Of course not! It was so hard for Him to see Jesus beaten and hanging from a tree with a crown of thorns on His head, but He wanted fellowship with us, so He made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.
When we see how God loves us, we can imitate His love unto others. Is it always easy? Absolutely not! It is definitely possible though. It’s easy to help the elderly woman cross the street, but it can be hard to love the guy who cut us off on the highway or to love the woman who gossips about us. When I find it difficult to show love to others, I try to remember that they are loved too. Jesus didn’t just die for my sins, he died for all of us! The sacrifice we need to make is our “selves.” When we let go of selfish ambition and grasp faithful service to others, we are exuding the love that God gives freely to us.
How can you abide in God’s love today? Maybe it’s letting go of anger and hatred. Maybe it means speaking the truth to someone. I don’t know what you need to let go of so that you can love the Lord with all of your heart, soul and strength (Luke 10:27), but let me tell you that it will be worth it. No matter how close we get to the Lord in this world, we’ll never be perfect. We will be works-in-progress until we get to Heaven, so we should try our best to draw near to Him until we get there. Blessings to all of you, friends! You’re loved beyond measure.