Wednesday, November 30, 2022

True Love and Resentment

 Jesus taught His disciples to love those who do not love them. The secret to not growing weary in loving those who do not love you is to remember that Jesus both taught and did it Himself. 

Our love for Him who "first loved us" is the refreshment we drink in when our good is returned with evil or when those whom we love are oblivious to how unloving they are towards us. 

Ultimately, everything we do or do not do is between us and Jesus, not us and anyone else. 

When we withhold love from others who do not love us, because we feel rejected by them, taken advantage of, or used, then we are failing to put Jesus first. We are failing to abide in Him. 

When we fail to love those by whom we feel unloved, we are making a choice to stop following Jesus. 

When we choose to give our time, favors, service, and resources only to those who return it then we are closing our ears to the voice of Jesus. For Jesus said, "Give to those who cannot repay you" and, "If you love only those who love you then what are you doing more than sinners"?

Guard your hearts against resentment. You may pour yourself out on behalf of others who take your sacrifices for granted, who may not even remember your favors, who cannot cheerfully reciprocate the love you show to them, who grudgingly lend you a hand when in need: but who are you serving? Yourself or Jesus? We begin to serve Jesus when we seek nothing but Him. We begin to follow Jesus when we seek nothing but His fellowship in return. 

What is resentment? Resentment is the door to bitterness. It is the silent rehearsal of your sacrifices, your favors, your labors for others who do not acknowledge them, who do not return them, whom you receive nothing but heartache and disappointment from. 

Resentment is the heaviness you experience when your feelings blind you to Jesus, who was despised and rejected of men. 

Resentment is carrying with you what you didn't receive from others when you feel they should have given it to you. 

Resentment is the result of serving others while expecting similar recompenses for your service and not getting it. 

When you feel resentment in your heart you must repent for being selfish. Again, resentment is the door to bitterness. 

You may reply, "Well I have done this, and that, and countless other things for those ungrateful wretches, why should I repent"? 

Because Jesus called you to serve Him, not them! He called you to follow Him, not after rewards or recompense. Because Jesus, your Master and Friend, gave you an example that you should even follow in His steps. Why should you repent? Because you have been called to be like Jesus, not like the sinful world who only loves those who loves them and who gives to those from whom they hope to receive again. 

The cure to all resentment is Jesus and His cross.

Beware of imaginations that feed resentment. Beware of nursing the pain you feel when others do not reciprocate your sacrifices, favors, and service by rehearsing them in your mind. 

Jesus warned, "And because iniquity shall increase the love of many shall grow cold". The world's love is already cold! He was warning the church! Perhaps nothing cools the love of God in man more than rehearsing injuries.

We shouldn't rehearse injuries we receive and we shouldn't rehearse our sacrifices for others or our lack of sacrifices. What we ought to rehearse is the sacrifice of the precious Lamb of God who constantly, consistently, from the heart, gave Himself completely in love to His disciples, to all who would believe in Him through their word, and even for His enemies.

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“Reason dictates that persons who are truly noble and who love wisdom will honor and love only what is true. They will refuse to follow traditional viewpoints if those viewpoints are worthless...Instead, a person who genuinely loves truth must choose to do and speak what is true, even if he is threatened with death...I have not come to flatter you by this written petition, nor to impress you by my words. I have come to simply beg that you do not pass judgment until you have made an accurate and thorough investigation. Your investigation must be free of prejudice, hearsay, and any desire to please the superstitious crowds. As for us, we are convinced that you can inflict no lasting evil on us. We can only do it to ourselves by proving to be wicked people. You can kill us—but you cannot harm us.” From Justin Martyr's first apology 150 A.D. Martyred A.D. 160