The Great Commission used to scare little me. I was a very good wallflower and enjoyed staying out of the way of people’s criticism, questions, and spotlight. Who was I to witness to the lost? That was for the preachers and missionaries.
But there came a time when all that I believed within me finally needed to get out. I had studied, read, prayed, and loved this God of mine . . . and one day I was faced with a decision. What if I asked God to take away this fear of man so that I could really and truly live out this Christian faith with all the passion and devotion that had built up through the years? Could I open my mouth and speak this testimony that the psalmist said in Psalm 40:3, “And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD”?
Then the realization hit me that I did not have to preach – especially since I am a woman. I may not even teach well or sing well. But there was one thing I could do with all my heart: I could LOVE well.
Love, when it is pure, can draw more souls to Him than I will ever know. Yet it meant I would have to love like my God loved. There is a lesson I have had to learn that goes like this:
“As Christians, the giving of our love does not depend upon the receiving of it. We give our love whether or not it is accepted. Like God’s love, it simply is.”
But in choosing this way of reaching those around me, there was a reality I had to deal with. It also meant my love might be rejected.
And it has been at times.
Yet in the rejection, God drew near to teach me yet another lesson. When the rejection came, my heart wanted to rise up in resentment and bitterness. I had only been loving like God loved, my motives had been pure, and I was only doing what God teaches us in I John 4:7,8, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loved not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
And then I remembered the cross. And all the rejection Christ has faced from millions and millions who have spurned His love over and over and over again.
But God went a step further and reminded me of how many times I have rejected His chastening love over and over in my own heart. How many times had I pushed His Spirit away and fought against His molding of my soul?
And I wept.
He had loved me without resentment in the midst of my rejection. His love had never went away or diminished at all. It was a constant. It was always there for it encompasses all of eternity. Never to leave, never to give up, never to accuse.
And so now when I feel that rejection from others and the responding rise of resentment at the injustice of it all . . . I take it right back to the Father and place it in His hands. “God, you know how to handle this better than I do.” I want no part of bitterness – I know that it could completely engulf my soul.
Even if my actions and heart of love were pure as pure can be . . . if I hold onto resentment in my heart, then the devil has succeeded in taking yet another one down. And that is where I am a firsthand witness to the reality of the power of this God we serve in freeing a soul from bitterness.
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” I John 4:4