In life you will get hurt. You will be offended. You may suffer because of someone else's action. When it does happen, you have to make a decision. Will you love like you have never been hurt?
Mark Twain said, “Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth.”
One of life's greatest challenges is to learn to love like you have never been hurt.
Somewhere along the journey people will hurt you, disappoint you, lie to you, stab you in the back, or reject you. Even now you're most likely associating a hurt with a face (or faces) or a name.
Mark Twain also said in another great quote, “If you ever find a dog on the side of the road that has been hurt, is hungry, and in bad shape, and you take that dog home to feed it, nurture it, and care for it, that dog will never bite you. Therein lies the chief difference between a dog and a man.”
The people that you love the most are often the ones that can bite the hardest.
Jesus said if you are on this planet, offense will come. So, what do you do with that? When hard times come, do we make them worse by our own reactions and choices? Some people wake up in the morning, brush their teeth, and sharpen their tongue. When hurt, rejection and pain happen you have to make a decision to love - to love like you've never been hurt.
Let's look to a few Biblical examples.
Joseph walks out one day and there before him are his brothers. The same brothers that hurt and rejected him by selling him into slavery. God's favor had been poured out upon Joseph and he held the keys of power in his hands. He literally held the keys to the worlds food supply.
His brothers thought he was dead. Joseph had a choice. Would he retaliate and seek revenge on these vile men, his own family, who had thrown him in a pit and sold him like a piece of trash? I'm sure that during Joseph's 20 years of imprisonment he reflected on the suffering, rejection, and pain caused by their horrific actions.
Joseph was not only confronted by the physical presence of his brothers, but also with a choice. He had the power and authority to give them what they deserved. Or, he could love them as if they had never hurt him. The Holy Spirit worked deeply in Joseph's heart to enable him to stand before them and declare that what was meant for evil God had turned for his good.
Joseph's decision to forgive not only brought internal healing, salvation, and deliverance to himself, but also to his entire family.
Then there's King David. His own father didn't even consider him worthy enough to mention when the prophet Samuel came to anoint a new king. There's nothing worse than wondering if the team captain is going to pick you are not to be on their team. Nobody wants to be picked last or feel worthless.
It's an even worse situation that David was in. He wasn't even chosen by his dad to participate! Thank God for the prophet Samuel! He finally asked if there was somebody else that hadn't been included in the count. Because of Samuel's probing, David was brought in from the fields to join the count.
David had to decide if he was going to harbor bitterness towards his father for rejecting him. Later in life David's brothers hurt him, and once again, he had to make a decision to forgive them.
Bitterness and offense will infect you and eat away at you until you are rotted.
David had an issue with his dad who didn’t believe in him, and his brothers who didn’t treat him right. David's wife, Michael, didn’t stand with him and she mocked him. David's own son Absalom tried to overthrow him and plotted to kill him. Saul pursued David relentlessly trying to kill him.
So, what did David do? Did he make them pay? No. He chose honor. He chose love. In the same way, will you love like you've never been hurt? God used the attacks against David to bring favor and blessing upon his life.
Many Christians are in a mess because of a lack of truly loving one another. Some think you can only love if you fully agree on things. Yet, we can still love when we disagree. The body of Christ is full of parents who are estranged from their children and grandchildren because of disagreements and unforgiveness. There is something wrong with that picture! There are many who profess Jesus as Lord yet still live a life engulfed in sin and bondage.
1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love never fails. Many place greater value on the power we have in Christ, yet forget about His love. Jesus said that love never fails. When you love somebody, it will never fail, even in hurt and pain.
The key to it all is allowing the love of God, which never fails, to penetrate your own heart, to heal you of brokenness, so you can extend the same to others.
Be challenged this week to love like you've never been hurt!