I still remember the moment I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, “Send her flowers.” It seemed so ridiculous to me at the time that I dismissed it only to hear that still, small and insistent whisper again, “Send her flowers.”
It seemed unfair that I should be the one to send her flowers after the things she had said about me that were so hurtful and also untrue. I had struggled with too many sleepless nights as the things she said about me swirled in my head. Everything in me wanted to defend myself. I wanted tell others that she was a liar and a gossip and yet the Holy Spirit kept prompting me to keep my heart right and my mouth shut. That was really hard work, but as I submitted to the promptings of the Spirit rather than my wounded emotions, I allowed God to go to work. God produced an outcome that I could never have anticipated.
I finally did send her a big bouquet of flowers and attached a note that spoke love and encouragement to her. As I did, I felt an unexpected joy flood my heart accompanied by the most glorious freedom.
In The Message, Luke 6:32-35 sounds like this:
“If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst.”
A beautiful miracle was waiting for me on the other side of my obedience to do what God was asking of me. That simple act opened a door of forgiveness and ushered in a friendship that is still a part of my life many years later.
Love that doesn’t cost is just a feeling.
The truest and purest love is found in Jesus and it is in him alone that I discover the capacity to extend love and forgiveness. When I truly know how completely loved and forgiven I am, how can I ever withhold it from others, even when it feels costly and undeserved? There is such liberty and freedom in knowing that I have freely received so I can also freely give it to others.
“This is my commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you. No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends. You are my friends if you keep on doing what I command you.” (John 15:10-14, Amplified Bible)
If great relationships were easy, everyone would have them. Sadly I have discovered that so few really do. Great marriages, families and friendships are a rare treasure, because they are extremely costly. I know that the only way I can love people when it gets hard is if I first envelop myself in the love of God and remain there until God’s love permeates the parts of my heart that are hurt and hardened towards others. As I choose to abide in God, God’s supernatural love makes the impossible possible. My heart softens, walls of self-protection come down, judgment is silenced, and fear is erased.
Yes, love will cost you, but choosing not to love will cost you so much more. I wonder if there are people in your world today that you need to allow God’s love to have preeminence? I wonder if you too are sensing the whispers and promptings of the Holy Spirit inviting you to open up a door that could lead to healing and restoration? Remember, love that doesn’t cost is just a feeling.