A situation came up with a particular person recently and no matter how hard I tried, it kept creeping into my mind and bothering me. I did all the usual things. I yielded to love. I prayed for that person. I forgave them. I cast the care of the situation over on the LORD because He cares for me and cares for the other person. I prayed God would make me what I ought to be to that person. Yet still troubling thoughts continued to come.
This morning I was reading a book about the love of God and it recounted the story of Stephen found in Acts chapter 7.
And while they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, Lord Jesus, receive and accept and welcome my spirit! And falling on his knees, he cried out loudly, Lord, fix not this sin upon them [lay it not to their charge]! And when he had said this, he fell asleep [in death]. (Acts 7:59-60, Amplified)
The author mentioned that Stephen was loving just like Jesus did as He died on the cross.
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him… Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do… (Luke 23:33-34, KJV)
As I read this I suddenly realized why I was having a problem forgiving and walking in love towards this person. I believed that he knew what he was doing when he did the things that bothered me. That’s not believing the best.
I don’t know that person’s heart. I don’t know what he was thinking when he did what he did. I suddenly believed that if he really knew what he was doing, he wouldn’t have done it.
At that moment I prayed, “Father, forgive him for he knows not what he’s doing. Father, I forgive him. I believe he doesn’t know what he is doing. I believe if he knew he wouldn’t do it.” Instantly all the worrying thoughts and all the heaviness in my heart melted away.
Suddenly there was a flow of the love of God in my heart towards that person. Compassion (God and His love) rose up in my heart for this man and I prayed for him. Not out of frustration. Not out of trying to make the situation better for me. I truly loved this man and prayed for him with no hint of selfishness.
This is the power of the Word of God. This is knowing the Truth and the Truth setting you free. This is being perfected in love and allowing His love to run full course in our lives. This is His way, the high way of love.
Love… takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]… Love… is ever ready to believe the best of every person… Love never fails… (1 Corinthians 13:5, 7, 8; Amplified)
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans do so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48, KJV)
…perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity]… (Matthew 5:48, Amplified)