As Christians we follow Christ’s council to “love one another; as I have loved you…By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). But sometimes we fall short of this goal because of the actions or words of others. Their actions transform the Savior’s invitation from something achievable to something that seems impossible.
So how can we revert this instruction back from an impossible feat to something that can be reached? Here are some things the Savior taught that can help us get there.
1. Love Them
As a child, when we have questions or desire to learn something, who do we turn to? A parent, grandparent, maybe an older sibling? We seek after those people who already have the knowledge that we are trying to acquire. Why does being older change that fact? Hint…It doesn’t. That’s why we are so lucky to always have someone to learn from who went through it all.
When we think about whether or not we should forgive someone, why would we not study the example of Jesus Christ? The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Romans hated and chastised him. He could have easily held a grudge, but no, instead he served them.
After his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Romans came to arrest him. During this tense moment, a servant had his ear cut off. What did Christ do next? He healed someone you could consider his enemy.
When we are hurt we can turn our focus from the hatred or dark feelings we feel into love, yes even the people that hurt us the most. When we are in our darkest places, loving people with a Christlike love is the best antidote. While giving the Sermon on the Mount Christ says this:
“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” (Matthew 5:44).
2. Eliminate Anger Quickly
I heard a quote once that went something like this. Being offended is like a snakebite. You can, out of anger, fear, or vengefulness, find the snake and kill it. Or you can move quickly to get the venom out. Though if you take the first course of action you may not live long enough to finish it. Anger is a dangerous path to follow and will make us do unimaginable things.
I once read a story about two farmers that lived in a drought-stricken area. Water was scarce and was therefore a very crucial natural resource for both men. Their livelihoods were at stake as they were completely dependent on water for their crops. The two farmer’s names were Bill and Tom and very frequently these two would squabble over which one was using too much water.
Time and time again this would happen, each time getting closer and closer to hostility. Until one day in the midst of an argument, they started using shovels as weapons. Unfortunately during the fight that ensued Bill struck one of Tom’s eyes, leaving him permanently blind in that eye.
As we look at this story it’s crazy to think how something as simple as water could lead to such violence. But when we look back at many we’ve been angry in our lives, many of these times can stem back to something simple or petty. Proverbs 15:18 describes anger and the consequences of it perfectly. It says “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”
Anger builds up until conflict arises and the only way to break down or dissolve those feelings is to forgive and let that anger crumble. Now let’s finish the story.
After that incident, months and even years passed. But anger stewed within Tom. Until one day, Tom grabbed his gun from within the barn and drove to the irrigation ditch that provided water for both men. He clogged up the ditch and waited in some brush, waiting for Bill to inevitably come and see why there was no water.
As you can guess, Bill did go to the irrigation ditch and when he did Tom shot him dead. After that fateful and passionate action, Tom went home and called the sheriff to tell him what he had done. Then, after a speedy trial, Tom was sentenced to life in prison.
3. Learn From Our Own Mistakes & Look for the Good in Others
Like Tom, we all know that it is easy to judge others or their actions. But even though it’s easy to, that doesn’t make it right. We are all imperfect people and each have our own individual faults. Only through Jesus Christ and his sacrifice can we be forgiven of Those faults.
“…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
While we pray and ask for forgiveness for our own mistakes, God will show us the same tools to forgive other’s faults as he does ours. When we struggle to forgive or love others, Christ will bless us when we turn to him.
May we all choose to follow Christ’s example and look for the good qualities of people instead of their faults. We can accentuate the good in the world by loving others and spreading the love that Christ offers everyone.
Hello everyone! My name is Joel Allen and I come from Meridian, Idaho. I enjoy exploring the outdoors and doing all sorts of sports to do so. I like to raft, kayak, rock climb, hike, etc. you get the idea. When I am not working or hounded by the business of life I enjoy diving in and studying the words of Jesus Christ in the Bible. One scripture that brings me joy is in John 16:22 where it says “And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” I look forward to the day that I will be able to see my Savior.