This email was written for Lifestream Journeys by Emmett and featured on the podcast, "When Love Doesn't Win?"
Tonight I'm doing some thinking about the subject of those that we have loved in this life. In particular, those whom we've loved, yet they didn't love us back, didn't blossom or succeed, didn't heal, and maybe even just got more deeply into serious problems.
I "think" that I've come to learn we humans have an innate expectation to witness "positive" results (in our eyes) from the love and kindness we put out there. And why not right? Love conquers all. The better questions might be when and how?
BUT what if it is "only" Father's will for us that we are transformed to love others, and, in some cases, all we see as a result of our love is rejection, or anger, or denial? In other words, the love we express seems to "backfire," or even fuel someone else's "issues"?
Could it be possible that our time of actively loving someone was only meant to leave them with a memory of such love?
I've had to consider Jesus. He brought love, life, and healing, but not everyone "seemed" to benefit as the gospel stories relate. He offered the truth and freedom from worldly slavery, yet he was still scorned and hated by many. He didn't stop loving, healing, forgiving, or redeeming.
How do "we" feel when love seems to do no good at all in some of our relationships? Can we identify with Christ? Can we move on in the Spirit and go to a village that will receive us at some point? - or are we to be defeated by rejection or what seems like negative outcomes?
Do we feel cheated? Do we feel like we wasted our time? Is it enough for us to just have loved?
I remember the scripture: "...one plants the seed, another waters, but God gives the increase." I've come to terms with a conclusion that it's not up to us to "make" things work out to "our" satisfaction in relationships.
As believers, we know all too well about that "pseudo" love used as a magnet to control or steer others - manipulation to serve one's self-interest - or just another ingredient in the recipe of a stew we're trying to make for "ourselves." It's not even Father's love at all! - but we do see it often in this world don't we? It never bodes well.
If we love with Father's love, wouldn't it be natural to have "no strings attached" in a healthy relationship? - no "self" interest, but simple obedience to Father's Spirit?
And what if someone we love is hurting us or others? Is there a "rule" for that? I don't think so. I firmly believe Father's Spirit want's to navigate us in those situations also.
Is it okay to call it "quits" and walk away from someone you love? - stop loving? How can a child of God stop loving? Is that even possible? If so, was it real love at all to begin with?
On the other hand, are all of Father's children called by default to experience, or even tolerate, abuses, neglect, or martyrdom?
People look for rules, as I once did, but today, I find the freedom of the Spirit to be the only way. So what is okay? What is not? What is expected of me? Honestly, I don't see how life can work this way at all. Who can answer those questions or judge us?
I think the guidance we need to navigate these situations can only stem from (you guessed it) a communicative relationship with Father. - in "real-time"
Jesus didn't tell his disciples to "beat your head against the wall" to no avail. If it were meant for the evil in the world to be the physical or emotional death of all of us as we "take up our crosses," - I'd rather just call it slow suicide. As believers, to toss ourselves back into worldly thinking IS suicide. When Father takes us home - trust me on this, we won't be making that choice for ourselves if we are following him.
I think many of us feel "guilty" sometimes for not letting someone inflict their wrath or continual rejection upon our lives - us being such astute christians and all, but many of us are called to move on and go forward another day - loving others and being loved while those "others" we have loved must go on to journey without us.
There are people I love but have simply HAD to part ways with. I never stop loving them in my heart, but the relationship with them either caused conflict, pain, rejection, or conflict of interest, or just was not creating healthy situations for one or both of us.
It can be hard to trust Father with the life of someone we are used to caring for, but the reality is: If I can trust him with my life...," or maybe THAT's my problem?
I remind myself often that Father's love expects nothing in return. It liberates people and sets them free. What others choose to do with their freedom is out of my hands completely.
If I give a drunk $5 for lunch and he spends it on more booze instead, I have still followed Father's Spirit. For all I know, it may be that exact bottle of booze that creates a situation that results in him getting help - or not. Either way, I am just following the Spirit, loving him, and giving him the "choice" to eat - or not.
So it goes for me. People will do what they choose to do. At some point, I realized I have zero control over that. With that said, I have to talk with Father and ask him to care for them, to guide them, to heal them, and to protect them. He's done that for me, and I believe he would do the same for them, but I don't think he would take away one's freedom to choose along the way.