Originally published Sunday, 19 April 2015.
I had friend; she was sweet, beautiful and helpful, but sometimes, she had a way of getting under my skin. Normally, I just shoved my irritation through the door of my heart and locked it there with a key. After all, sometimes it feels easier not to deal with things.
I remember one specific day - she asked me to borrow a coat. But, as I handed it to her, she looked at it with disdain. I knew her. I knew she had her eye on one specific coat in my closet. I knew her mind was set, even though she put me through a song and dance trying on each one – I knew where this charade was headed.
In that moment, I wanted to say, "Wear the coat I gave you. I am wearing this one." I wanted to send a message that I knew what she was up to. I wanted her to see that her approach was wrong.
But, as I evaluated how to deliver this message, the quiet whisper of my heart said, "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD." Lev. 19:18
God’s truth spoke to my heart saying, “Others may annoy you, but it doesn’t matter what they do, it matters what I tell you to do. What matters is – love.”
We headed out. She, wearing the beautiful coat – I, wearing the old one.
As I returned from dropping her off at her house, I recounted all her offenses against me. My irritation levels were on high alert in general, so you can only imagine my frustration when I arrived at the front door, to find it locked and dead-bolted, with absolutely no way in.
Try as I may, this house was impenetrable – and my heart felt imbittered.
But, as I shoved my hand into my old not-so-nice coat, the coat, I felt something; it was just what I needed- a bobby pin – one she has left in my pocket while trying my coat on.
It was this bobby pin that allowed me to pry a screen off a window, so I could climb in to unlock my front door.
In that moment, my whole perspective shifted. I found the key to unlock both my resentful heart - and my front door.
It unlocked all the small annoyances.
The truth is, the hurting person is hurt. They need love.
It unlocked the power of seeing over small offenses.
God rewards a heart that forgives, that shows mercy and that looks beyond offenses. He rewards a heart that sees a heart.
It unlocked the power of sacrificial love.
True love means we put another before our self. When we look past the exterior, God wows us with the interior of the one who stands before us.
It unlocked my mind from anger and resentment.
When we open the door of our hurts to the great God who understands hurts, all we can do is run into his open arms to receive forgiveness. Then, we can start seeing the ministry work the Lord has set before us to do in the heart of another.
It unlocked a new reality; true love costs something.
Love means we lay down what we have, so we can see how God wills us to reach the other. Sometimes it may cost us a coat, sometimes our time, but no matter, we lay it down in love.
We are all fallen, hurt and imperfect, but as we see past these things, our well-maintained fortresses are penetrated, our walls are taken down and true relationships are forged.
Truly, love surpasses locked doors. It opens up a whole new world.