* A Message Frome Ashleigh Marie (Founder of “From Ashes”): Every month, the goal of “From Ashes” is to feature a Guest Blogger to share their heart and story here. Guest Bloggers, like friends, can offer some insight and different perspectives into our lives. Iron sharpens iron ( ref. Proverbs 27:17); so that is my hope and purpose for featuring Guest Bloggers. (If you’d like to catch up on past Guest Blogger’s, click here.)
Samantha L is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We have a long history and a long friendship that I am so grateful for. She is a very wise woman who has made it a point, in her life, to follow God with everything she has. And to do so with no regrets or apologies. I’m thankful for her.
She’s a wise woman who has a lot to share. So with that, please enjoy Samantha’s “Guest Blog”. (And please leave some comments below to show her some love!)
We, as Christians, are tasked with two things as soon as we accept Jesus. We are told to spread the gospel and love others as Christ loved. Simple right? Except when it’s not. Lately, for me the hard part has been loving people as Christ loved. Not that I don’t love people because I do love people. Let me explain… I tend to be a “fixer” when someone tells me they have a problem I like to be able to help them fix it. But what happens when someone doesn’t want to be “fixed”? What do we do when people would rather stay miserable than work on the problem and fix it? The answer is simple, we love them anyway. But it’s acting out the answer that’s difficult for me. I have a hard time keeping people around that are just continually negative or those that continue to make bad decisions. In part that is to protect myself and my family and in part it’s because I just don’t have the patience to deal with it. I’ve always been someone people come to when they’re going through something. I’ve always been good at listening and offering advice and praying with people. For most of my life, I’ve been really good at allowing people to stay in my life regardless of how many times they’ve hurt me or messed up. Since becoming a parent and seeing how important stability and healthy relationships are for children I’ve cut a lot of people out… I lost balance. I realized that while my children are surrounded by stable people and seeing healthy relationships; they aren’t seeing what it means to love like God loves.
Let’s take a quick look at what it actually is to love like God loves.
The Bible tells us that God is love
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
1 John 4:8 NIV
So if we are made in the image of God then that would mean that we too are supposed to be love. But what does Gods love look like?
What is love?
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
So as Christians we are called to be patient, kind, void of envy, pride and dishonor; full of hope truth; we are to protect and preserve; hold no record of offenses… you get the picture.
But why? Why is it so important for us to be these things? Why are we supposed to love regardless of how many times we’re hurt or someone messes up?
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8 NIV
Wow. I don’t know about you but when I first read that and got the revelation that I wasn’t loving and being love for myself but for the other person, it hit me like a ton of bricks. If I call myself a Christian and cannot love I’m nothing.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV
Our ability to love should be the mirror image of Gods love. Not that we won’t mess up and miss it… we are human. But the love we have and show to those who need it most makes room for the Holy Spirit to do His work in the hearts of men.
It tells those who to know that God loves them regardless of what they’ve done or who they’ve been. It gives the grace for people to become all that God has called them to be. God’s love is a safety net, if you will, that catches us when we fall.
Now this isn’t something I’ve mastered yet but I have been able to learn the importance of being God’s love in this world. In this world, we are surrounded by darkness. We see it every day on the news or hear about it on the radio. People need a light. They need people who are brave enough to take on the darkness and love. Be brave. Be love.