“A new commandment I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so also you just love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”
Love is a powerful thing. It’s something that brings us all together in our highest and lowest moments. It can pull us from the pits of despair and make us sing from the mountaintops. Love is the ultimate healing tool for our broken and bent hearts and souls. It’s the only thing that can stop wars and pain.
I’ve gone through a lot of pain in my life, and love has been the only thing that has saved me over and over again. In my darkest moments, it was either the love of God or the love of friends that healed me and made me whole again. Love has been a constant presence in my life in a tangible and powerful way, and because of it, I spend a great deal of time working hard to soften the edges of my life and try to be as kind and compassionate as possible, not just because God commands it, but because it has been proved to me over and over again that love always wins. Love is never, ever, wrong.
I’ve recently gone through another turmoil in my life. A person called me by my dead-name, intentionally doing it to hurt me in front of others on the public platform of social media. The panic attack that followed left me rattled, and I didn’t want to cause a scene for her on her page, so I quietly unfriended her. I did make my own post about what had happened and how it had affected me, and I wasn’t as kind as I could have been since I was raw from my hurt and pain. But after all was said and done, I worked to move on. I didn’t look back at that post where that person had hurt me, and I didn’t try to start any more drama. I just wanted to let it rest. Rarely am I ever so lucky.
As it turned out, that post took off like a firestorm in the dead heat of July. All of the original poster’s friends jumped on to comment their thoughts and share their own hate and ignorance about LGBT issues, and some of my friends rallied to my defense but soon found themselves outnumbered and outshouted. I only discovered this later after a late night message from a concerned party.
As it turned out, the person who first attacked me had ended up being attacked herself, viciously and in complete cruelty. I was unaware of this until recently, and I must say, I agree with the concerned party. While I was grateful for my friends jumping to my defense, discovering some of them were taking the low road of personally attacking this person in cruel and childish ways deeply hurt me. I had no intention of starting drama when I first commented on the post where she attacked me. I had no intention of starting problems for her when I made my own post about it, careful to leave out her name or any hint of who had done it.
But it’s the internet. People found out anyway.
I want to make it abundantly clear that I do not support or encourage any personal attacks like the ones targeted at the girl who hurt me. I do not believe in fighting hate with hate, fire with fire, immaturity with immaturity.
The only way to bring people together is to love unconditionally, to be willing to listen, to lend a hand, to be a shoulder to lean on. Unconditional love looks like being personally attacked in the public eye, and choosing to say something kind in response. That’s something I failed to do, and something I won’t soon forget to do if it ever happens again. Unconditional love looks like seeing your friend be hurt and going to your friend to comfort them, not picking up a sword to kill the enemy. Unconditional love looks like seeing an enemy and not treating them with stones and harsh words. It means treating them kindly and respectfully, recognizing each other as human beings capable of flaws and mistakes. None of us are perfect in all ways, and we must be willing to see that. We must be willing to acknowledge it, and then set it aside in favor of loving where the other is weak.
We cannot win if we are constantly in a battle of out-hurting each other. No one wins when everyone is hurt and wounded. There is no victory when everyone is mourning.
Today, both sides are hurting. There is no victory, there is no winning. There are just two sides, wounded, and glaring at each other in defiance.
I don’t know if this situation will ever resolve itself with kindness and compassion. All I know is what I can do, and I can be the olive branch. I’m willing to let it rest, to have peace. I’m willing to put aside my hurt in favor of bringing love to the table.
There will be no lies here. I was hurt deeply by what this person did. But do I think this person deserves to be hurt just as I was? No. Absolutely not. I believe in a God that commands us to love one another, even when it’s hard. Even when we have every reason to fight back and cut throats. I have seen cruelty bring more cruelty, and I’ve seen love bring healing. I’d much rather be on the side of healing.
God commands us to love one another. He states that this is how others will know that we are disciples. I think there’s a profound truth to that. something that transcends time and all arguments we can ever come up with.
We are most Godly when we love one another. We are most like Jesus when we forgive the worst in others. We are most holy when we turn the other cheek.
If this convicts you or encourages you, I hope that it will bring you to forgiveness of others. I have forgiven the person who wronged me, and I hope the ones who attacked her will also go and ask for forgiveness as well. Even if they don’t achieve forgiveness on Earth, I’m convinced God looks down on us all in unfathomable love when we give it, when we ask for it, when we receive it, and when we don’t receive it.
Love and forgiveness walk hand in hand. We cannot love if we aren’t willing to forgive the hurts. When the hurts are forgiven, love can finally heal.
Let’s begin healing now.