"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:18-19
In one of my favourite magazines I came across a thought provoking quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Insightfully, he said, “If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
These are wise words to ponder when you are perplexed by the actions of others who treat you with hostility or indifference. It’s always good to first search one’s heart, before God, to ensure it’s not something you’ve done that you should rightly repent of and ask their forgiveness about. However, if there is no real reason why they seem to have something against you, it may be as another common axiom states, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Their ‘secret history’ might be such that they’ve experienced terrible abuse, failure, and rejection, that pours out of them in hurtful ways to those around them.
Certainly, we are all responsible for our actions, but where would any of us be without God’s grace and mercy toward us? The good news is, because God first loved us, when we were only hostile toward him, that indefatigable love has transformed us. We are enabled through the love of Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, to have poured out of us, even toward our enemies, not condemnation (which may be all they’ve ever known) but disarming, healing, grace and understanding. Yes, when undeservedly treated harshly we want to retaliate, but in remembering the great love and grace of God toward us, we can then extend it to others - even to those who mistreat us.
Christine Caine wonderfully highlighted in a tweet not long ago, “Hurt people, hurt people, but helped people, help people.” Of all people, this should be true of God’s people.
Thanks for meandering along with me,