As I reflect the day, this year was a good birthday filled with family and friends.  I would not have wanted my day any other way.  But then I also reflect on what is going on in the world there is so much hate and division going on right now.  People are maliciously hurting others because the person or people group are not the same as them.  These differences happen to be in race, religion, social classes, personalities, sexual orientation and I could go on and on.  Its disheartening to see people hurting others intentionally.  And it is even more disheartening when we look through the lens that everyone is someone God created.  He made us all so differently.  And I am so glad He made us so different because life would be so boring if we were all the same.

My prayer is that when we see others we would look at them with the eyes of God and see them through eyes of love and not hate. See others through eyes of compassion and empathy.  And realize every one has a story that matters.  When we see people through eyes of love, we see people a whole new light.  It does not mean we have to agree with everything that person says or does or that boundaries should not be in place in some relationships depending on the circumstances.  But it does meant that we have to treat them with love.  And when we treat people with love we begin to see that God has a greater plan for their lives and our lives. Love opens doors that were never opened before.  Love brings forgiveness that was not possible before.  Love brings a face and a story to the issues that we are so passionately against.  “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35  When God commanded us to love another, He did not say you have to love this person but not that person.  We can not pick and choose on who we are called to love.  There are times we hate or have a strong dislike for someone whatever reason may be.  And sometimes we have good reason to hate or have a strong dislike because of the circumstances that brought it on.  But God has given us a strong warning that we are not to hate others.  “We love because God first loved us. Whoever says, “I love God,” but hates his brother is a liar. The one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love the God whom he has not seen.”  1 John 4:19-20  We often do not think of the words we are saying; are they showing love or is it bringing more division to a world that is full of hate and malice.  Because we are too worried about our own agenda and we want to make sure people hear our agenda.

While forgiveness and love is something that is hard to do, it is necessary for yourself and the person you are forgiving.  So the next time that you are ready to treat someone with less than the love that they deserve; look at them through the eyes of love.  And sometimes it means asking God to help with that.  Also think about the many times that you were shown love, grace, mercy and forgiveness when you did not deserve it.  We need to choose love and not hate and division.  Even when it means putting aside our differences and our agendas.  When we choose love, we will see amazing things happen that we may not think that would have been possible before.   So today let’s choose to see others through the eyes of love and see that they and their story matters.  I challenge you to put your own agendas aside and just love on those that are put in your path.