but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Prov 17:9
You told me that the message for us is that the only way that we can love (AGAPE) people is to forgive them in Your strength. It is a mystery, again, and if I describe this incorrectly, I would be distorting Your Doctrine and Wisdom with my words. So let my Words be from You. Please help me, Father!
In Jesus Christ's Name, Amen
I am writing this in a sort of unorganized way, but in the order that thoughts occur in my mind and I am praying that you will follow this and understand; you will understand.
The only way that we can love the sons of men with the Agape of the Father is to forgive them. At first thought we think of the verse above which states that to cover over an offense promotes love. Another verse, Prov 19:11 states that it is to a man's glory to overlook an offense. I (and perhaps you) are tempted to think that these verses mean that we must be so childlike and pure that we do not see the evil in others which in some cases is directed towards us. Others of us think, "Everyone is good to me. There is no one in my life that I need to forgive. I am blessed!".
Take a man, a stranger, that you meet somewhere and the Holy Spirit prompts you to go and preach the Gospel to him. Consider His voice also telling you as you approach him, "You cannot love him unless you forgive him". And you reply, "Father, I do not know this man. He has not wronged me. He is innocent in my eyes until proven guilty". And God still tells you, "You must forgive him. You know that he is a sinner. You must forgive him in My strength before you can show him My love."
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.Luke 6:37
Consider another scenario. You meet a stranger in church. This stranger is homeless and pitiful and explains his difficulty to you. You do not know him but you are filled with compassion and love for him. You tell him, "You can certainly stay in our home. We have an extra room and I am sure that my family will welcome you. Please come and stay with us, dear one, for you need to know the love of Christ. We will show it to you. Come and stay with us!" He moves in with you and you show him lots of love on the first couple days. After that, you start to notice that he is kind of loud. Then you realize that he keeps the house kind of messy. Then you see him yelling at your children. He starts to take your love for granted. HOW DO YOU RESPOND? You cannot love him as before. You wish that he would find somewhere else to stay and start to ask others if they have extra rooms in their homes. You realize that you really do not feel any love at all for this man, but only irritation. You ask yourself, "Did I ever love this man with AGAPE?". NO, you had loved him with storge and/or phileo, but when the time of testing came, you could not forgive, and you were left with only resentment. If you are led by the Spirit, you will cry out to God to remind you of His love and forgiveness. He will grant you the power to forgive and love this man in spite of his faults. Only now, after you have forgiven him, you have loved him with AGAPE.
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”Rom 12:20
Going back to the example of the man that you are called to share the Gospel with: this man is never going to stay at your home and you will never have a chance to be irritated with his shortcomings. But nevertheless, within the 15 minutes conversation in which you share the Gospel, the Holy Spirit calls you to initially forgive him before you can share the Gospel in love.
We question God asking, "If I have to forgive everyone before I can love them, then I am going to have to know what to forgive: the sin in people. If I am thinking about people's sin all the time, then I am going to have bad perspectives of everyone. Am I not called to think highly of others and not ponder on their shortcomings?"
And God replies with Is. 5:20:
"Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man
whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.Ps 32
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”Luke 7:47
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.Prov 16:6
We are going to see Anand and Prasanna for Christmas! I am most likely continuing under another adviser after that for the phd unless God shows me something else. And I am still praying/waiting for God to inspire His man to come find me!