In Tonight’s Household: Love
This afternoon, we had our household meeting in my friend’s house. In YFL, a household is a small unit of members who regularly gathers to pray, to worship, and share insights about a certain topic. The blessing of a household is the friendship that bears fruit out of the love, trust, and hope.
Today is an “upper household”, which means the YFL core leaders in our areas would comprise the meeting. Our topic could never be even more perfect. It is about “Love” and I strongly believe God placed me here in His time. God will unfold His beautiful message to me, and all I can do is surrender my heart in Him.
1 Cor. 13: 4-8 (RSV):
4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
After our worship and usual mini sharing about how we were these past weeks, we were tasked to make a list of 3 people we love and 3 people we have issues with. At this moment, it was not difficult to do the list, but organizing my thoughts and reasons for these people to be in that list was both happy and sad.
For the list that makes me happy, I wrote Family, Friends, and YFL. I am blessed how the recent turn of events made our family closer and more understanding. As we grow older, it is not about the fights but how much we care for each other. They are the ones I know who loves me permanently and unconditionally. Even if the world turns back against me, I have my family who will pick me up and count on.
I am blessed with friends because these are the types of relationships worth investing my time and myself. Some friends may come and go, but those who stick around through thick and thin are worth it. At this point, I realize there are friends that I took for granted, yet they are still with me. I am grateful that there are friends I still have way back from my childhood. There are friends I gained from school, organization, and everyday encounters. God gave me friends to have a happy life.
YFL is special in my heart because this community helped me know God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Some of these people I knew since our kids’ ministry until now, and I am already in my ninth year in the youth ministry. All throughout my life since I was five years old, I have served God and the community. I cannot imagine how my life would have turned out if not for this blessing. I have built my confidence and growth as a person through kids and in YFL. I know that even if I move to singles or couples ministries years from now, God will always keep me close to Him.
For the three persons I listed for whom I have issues with, I know they could have been perfect candidates as well in the list of the people I love. These people I have loved so much, yet there are reasons when I simply have to let them go. Two of them are my friends, and the third is someone I truly love. I am the person who keeps on trying to save my relationships with them, yet, their actions have caused me pain. Yes, I still love them all, I wish I would not put their names on this list, but God clearly has other plans.
If God brings me to it, He will bring me through it.
I know that in pain, God gives me the appreciation of what love really is. I never hated them in spite of what they have done to push away my love for them. God tells me that right now, these people I do not deserve to prioritize with my love. In His time, these persons and I will be blessed to fix things. Only time can heal these wounds in my heart. It is never easy especially now that it is still fresh. But God is my healer.
Honestly, these people I have issues with cause me tears and disappointments. But I do not blame God for putting me in this situation. All I can say is I trust God that these pains will change me. My trust and faith in them might have been broken now, but in my broken self, God will make me whole. My hurts remind me that I am alive and human. I still love them. I know I also have others whom I love, and I know that I can love them more.
As the sharing among YFL members progressed, I am amazed how open we all were in pouring what love is and the reasons why they chose those names on the list. Some were almost in tears while sharing (I am one of them) especially when we talk about our families.
YFL community truly changes us on how we now value the people we love and how we are praying for the people we have issues with. Our lives were never the same when we were gripped by His grace. God transforms us to live our difficulties as blessings in disguise. Thank you, Lord for bringing me here.
“We are called to love and we have the burden to love,” this is what our household head said. Indeed, God tells me to love because He has first loved me.
I am surprised that even if I have lost loved ones along the way, I never wished anything bad for them. Sometimes, we find it difficult to love them or we cannot love them either it is because (a) they are source of sorrow, (b) they are “ignorant” or “insensitive” of our sincere efforts to love them, (c) they “irritate” us to the point why we lose the reasons to love them.
Everything is part our “cross” that we have to carry on our own. These are the things that we have to bear, but we have to always choose Jesus. Choosing less for myself and more for others, this is a cross of selflessness. Being part of YFL taught me not to judge others, but to practice the culture “no one judges, everyone understands”.
God loves me so much that even in pain, I choose to be happy. Our smiles may hide our deepest hurts, but our smiles also bring happiness to others. After the sharing, these are the important realizations and learning I got from the household:
1.) No matter what, understand – This is hard, but pride has no room if you truly love. Pride only speaks about “rights”, but understanding speaks only but love. It is about seeing things in the eyes of God.
2.) Try to reach out – “Everybody needs God, they just do not know it yet.” I realize that when I joined the community and learned about God, this taught me to cling to His promises.
3.) Stand firm – Yes it is tiring and almost impossible, but the Lord affirms us to be strong. I realized that Jesus stood up for you and me, thus even if I am hurting, I will continue to love.
In reality, when we are happy and feel loved we do not always grow. True love encourages us to grow, even in pain. In the end, true love endures “in pain or happiness, in abundance or absence.” At the end, conquering the difficulty of loving will make us stronger.
Aside from God, when I personally source happiness and love from family, friends and YFL, I become equipped to love by understanding, by reaching out, and by standing firm. Even without our “rights”, our love gives us real freedom. As YFL leaders in our areas, we are called to love our members even more. We become God’s instruments to love them unconditionally.
The most important realization today was instead of hating, we focused on loving even the most difficult persons. This is the way that Christ taught us. He was able to love even the unlovable. It is great how our love for God changed us that we never wished something negative for the people we have issues with. We lift them all to Him who will bless our relationships. Right before our eyes, we will always find reasons to love. We will be witnesses of God’s love as we try to understand, to reach out, and to stand firm.
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