Love is a Decision
Deciding to Love and Not Hate
by Joanne Troppello
“Love and hate have a magical transforming power. They are the great soul changers. We grow through their exercise into the likeness of what we contemplate.” – George William Russell
If we are thinking negative things about someone and constantly playing back their hurtful behavior in our mind, it’s easier to hate them—rather than show kindness. However, if we realize that everyone in this world is loved by God and that He sent His Son to die for them, it makes it easier to love them through the power of the Holy Spirit in us.
Of course, that is not the easy way. Anger, hate, and bitterness are the easy way to go. It takes self-discipline to show love and kindness, and try to make peace with your enemies.
Loving others is one of the greatest gifts we can give. In I Cor. 13:13, we learn that “Now abide faith, hope, love, these; but the greatest of these is love.”
My heart aches for the state of the world today.
We’re all on sides. Political sides. Religious sides. Maskers. Non-maskers. Vaxers. Non-vaxers. The woke. The unwoke. Those who love the world. Those who seek God’s Kingdom.
The chasm between these sides seems to be widening each day.
Love is a Decision
You’re never going to please everyone and there will always be people who continue to return hatred when you try to love them. Should you stop loving them?
As a Christian, the response should be no. As a human being, I can’t continue to love on my own—especially in those circumstances.
However, with God’s power, I can share His love with those around me.
In Matthew 5:44, Jesus tells us, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
Yes, that does sound difficult, but it is easier when we allow God to work through us. I can’t love my enemies in my own power. Naturally, I want to return hate with hate. Though, as a new creation in Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can love those who are not so loveable.
A Light in This World
Matthew 5:16 tells us to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
Now, they may not glorify God in that moment. The hatred could intensify. However, we never know how sharing God’s love toward them can bring them that much closer to seeking God for themselves. We rise by lifting others up, not tearing them down.
Be the type of person that takes personal responsibility for your actions as you strive to grow into an emotionally intelligent person who knows how to respond and not react. This world needs more people—me included—who are seeking to take personal responsibility for our actions each day.
You’ll cultivate more friends than enemies that way and may start to see that being grateful is so much more fulfilling than complaining. Seek to find the good in life. Look for solutions, not all the reasons why you cannot love others.
Be a light in the world. We need more people to choose love over hate and kindness over disrespect. There will always be people with hard hearts and those who choose a darker path, but every choice for good you make can bring more light to our hurting world.
It takes a big-minded person to be open to new ideas. A small-minded person is too focused on the impossibilities. Stay open to always learning something new each day—even if that’s trying to see things from someone else’s perspective.
Try to understand new ideas, even if you can’t agree with them. That’s how we bridge the gap back to civility.
If we stop talking “at” and “about” people, but start talking “to” them, we can improve our chances of finding our way back to civility.
Remember that a little kindness can go a long way.
You may not feel like it, but you are valuable. Maybe you don’t feel loved. Know this—God loves you. He sent His Son to die on a cross for you. Even if you were the only person on earth, Jesus still would have died for you. Trust me, you are dearly loved.
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.
Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel.