Love in the Time of Cholera. I Mean Covid.

I have a graphic on my living room wall that says “I’m in love with places I’ve never been and people I’ve never met.”

See, I love people. Maybe a little too much sometimes? I could have deep conversation with a mom I just met at Aldi’s and offer to watch her kids the next minute. (I’m getting better with my boundaries! 🤣)

There’s this cool thing God does with me where He shows me how much He loves people sometimes. Now, if I’m busy or spazzing or dealing with a parenting debacle, I’m not always paying attention. But sometimes that person really needs to be loved and He diverts my attention.

Christians know (or should I say we think we know?) God loves us and God loves everyone, but when you feel His direct love for someone it’s like an atomic bomb of adoration going off inside.

I can be in line at Target and BAM He hits me and suddenly I am staring at the old man I don’t know filled with so much love I want to go squeeze him. I told a pastor once, “I feel like I’m in love with everybody!” And it can kinda feel like that. I am overcome with the Father’s love, that is my beloved I’m staring at in the middle of the store. Sometimes, God gives me words to share with them too. That’s a little scary sometimes. My heart starts pounding and my armpits start to tingle and sweat (sorry if that’s TMI for you haha). And if I don’t share with them, I feel devastated afterwards.

When God started revealing this love to me and finally wanted me to speak to someone, I was nervous as all get out. I was shopping with my youngest at the time and this middle-aged woman and I kept crossing paths and bumping into each other and sharing a smile or chuckle. And every time I saw her God said “can you tell her I love her and how beautiful she is to me?”

Gulp.

I kept putting it off. If I see her by the vegetables I’ll say it. If I see her by checkout I’ll say it. But then I lost her, and I felt awful.

I purchased my groceries and was loading them up, about to take my cart back, when I saw her heading towards me. Parked right next to me. Hahaaa okay Lord. Well played.

Afraid to freak her out I waited for her to put her groceries in her trunk and went to take my cart back. Heart thudding ferociously inside. Can I do this? Approach a stranger? I can barely talk on the phone to strangers haha.

This is your last chance I felt inside. Those butterflies were making me want to puke.

“Um, excuse me?” I stammered.

The lady seemed startled. “Yes?”

“I’m sorry if this is weird, but I’m a Christian and I believe God can speak to us, and I don’t know if you believe and that’s fine, but He’s been highlighting you to me while I was shopping. He wants you to know He loves you fiercely, and He thinks you’re absolutely beautiful!”

The woman seemed grateful and shocked but she thanked me for sharing that with her. The thing is, to human eyes she was an average lady. Someone you probably wouldn’t blink twice at if you passed her in Walmart. But as the Lord showed her to me it’s like I got to see her through His eyes.

I noticed the way she smiled, how her eyes lit up, the grace she walked with. God showed me His intentional design in her and how delightful she was to Him.

Why am I sharing this? Because I’ve been struggling guys. I’m struggling with humanity. It’s not nice out there. I have found myself more than once saying “I hate humans.” “I hate stupid people.” When people are cruel to you or those you care for, it’s really hard to have the attitude of brotherly love on.

Hate is a big word. Small in text but big in feeling. I’ve felt a little… Jaded. Why should I show love to people who are so hateful? What a very human, spoiled thing to say. I’m called to love, I’m called to show people who Jesus is through me, the salt of the earth and a light in the darkness and I’ve let other people’s rage and sass make my own rise up.

I’m seeing people I once thought well of say very mean things on the internet. People I’ve once stood up for being cruel. My husband’s been called curse words in public. I know the way people have even talked about me. There’s been so much pain in my heart! Sadness, anger, a desire for justice, weariness.

Today while nursing the baby I had a revelation. Scrolling the ole Facebook I realized “hey, I haven’t seen that guy Mike Maeshiro in my feed in a while. He always as good things to say, I’m gonna go find his page.”

Scrolling through I stopped to read a few of his posts and came across one that stopped me in my tracks.

It’s said that you can’t change people. I disagree. You can’t change people if your aim is to control them. If you love them…I’ve found people cannot resist that kind of power. If you do not love, you are not free and you will find that your choices are limited. Love is greater than free-will because free-will is found in love. When people experience love, their options change and so their life changes. Love actually liberates you to live from the inside out.

I don’t hate people. The same glimmer of God’s love that I’m experiencing through the Holy Spirit is manifesting as grief. That’s why this hurts so deeply. Oh how the Father is grieved by humanity’s treatment of each other. There is no grace, no agape love crossing over differences. There is no appreciation of each other.

I am learning to discern my own emotions from ones I might be feeling around me. I think a lot of the emotion I’ve been feeling is more the temperature of the room so to speak, being highlighted to me. The world is being over taken by fear, pride, and people trying to control.

We cannot control others, we can only control our own person. It feels to me like that’s making a lot of people feel powerless and angry and fearful in an already scary time.

What if, instead of trying to control the situation/narrative/person near us, we just really loved? Assumed the best instead of the worst? And just worried about ourselves and kept our own hearts in check. Work on our emotions and responding to others rather than reacting?

Oof I dare say maybe this season we’re all in together might feel a bit safer. Might feel like unity instead of pitting us all against each other. Society right now is just not loving and I think it’s deeply hurting us as a whole.

Mike Maeshiro

Love is a deep and profound mystery. In the English language, we have reduced our understanding of the many forms of love into one word and have also reduced the word love to a verb. But like any instruction from Scripture, love is never just a verb, it is always sourced in spirit first. If it’s not, it’s not love. It’s easy to say that we love somebody, and even find evidence in our actions and choices to prove the statement, but if the Spirit of Love is missing from our sentiment or action, it is no longer appropriate to call the thing love. Love is not sourced in what we do, it is sourced in what we are occupied by. ⁠

Experiencing this unraveling of thought and emotion with God today took an immense weight off my shoulders. It’s like my spirit exhaled.

I don’t hate people, because I’ve been made to love them. I hate the emotional climate people are staying in, and the unhealthy thoughts they’re partnering with. I’m feeling the fear they’re struggling with and feeling the grief of a Father seeing His children hurting and operating from identities that are not rooted in what He says about them, or His love and supernatural peace. I feel the tension of powerlessness.

We have work to do guys. The greatest of these is love. It’s time to love real hard, and put hate and division behind us. And to return to the art of respectfully disagreeing (Facebook might implode).

Let’s get to it! Go out and love well. You might feel a whole lot better.

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