I remember when I was in school, the teacher would send home a list of all of my classmates to make sure that no one was left out of the Valentine’s Day festivities. I would take the list home and carefully write the name of a friend on each one. Then I would come to the name of the girl who was always mean to me and called me names. She always bullied me and threatened to start a fight. Why should I write her name down? She wasn’t nice to me; my teacher wouldn’t know; and I was sure that others wouldn’t be giving her a valentine either.
Then I was reminded by the spirit of Luke 6:27. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” It goes on to say in verse 8, “pray for those who abuse you.” So that’s what I began to do. I began to actually pray for her. I asked the Lord to show me how I could love her. Our conflict escalated to a point where I had to tell an adult and we met with the school principle and the school counselor together. As it turns out, her negative attitude and behavior toward me was an expression of the hurt and loss that she felt over the recent passing of her mother. I began praying that the Lord would comfort her and would give her peace. By praying for this ‘enemy’ I began to truly love her and care about her.
My family moved the following year, and I had to transfer schools. I don’t know if my prayers or love made a difference in her life. I do know that they made a difference in mine. I looked at people differently. She taught me that sometimes the outward actions of others are a result of inner hurt and what they really need is to be loved.
We all have people in our lives that we may not get along with. They may get on our nerves or be unkind to us. I want to challenge you to change your mindset this Valentine’s Day. Instead of allowing yourself to be annoyed or hurt, choose love. Start praying for that person. Don’t just ask God to change them, but really pray for them. You never know what they may be going through. Ask God to show you how to love and to give you the ability to see others as He does.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” -1 Corinthians 13:1-8a