By Carolina Brooks
“He has not given us a spirit of fear but the power of love.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Do you ever have a hard time loving someone? Maybe they are doing something that bothers you or you don’t agree with.
2 Timothy 1:7 has been one of my favorite go-to promises whenever I’m afraid. The other morning as I was thinking about a situation that I’ve been struggling with for the past couple of weeks, a disturbing idea struck me. I’ve always been a person who dislikes confronting people. I want to get along with everyone. I’d much rather live with the problem. But at some point confrontation is unavoidable.
That morning I had just confronted one of my friends about some things that were frustrating me. I was flustered and felt like the conversation hadn’t gone well. As I thought about what had just happened, this verse (2 Timothy 1:7) popped into my head. I realized that I shouldn’t be afraid of confronting someone but should instead show them love even when it’s hard. Love is so powerful. “Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).” It can break down any wall no matter how high. I felt like God was telling me, “Carolina, if you let go of this little thing that is bothering you and love your friend, then I can break down the walls in your relationship.”
So often in our relationships with other people, we have a hard time being real and talking about the things that we struggle with, or that bother us because we don’t truly love them the way we should. We build walls to protect ourselves from being hurt. Because we’re afraid, we avoid talking to those whom we have conflict with about the things that irritate us.
Sometimes it can feel almost impossible to love someone. In a Bible study I’ve been going through, the author talks about how God calls us to do things that we don’t think make sense or that seem impossible. However, all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26 ). In John 13:34, Jesus commands us to “love one another; as I have loved you.” Jesus set a beautiful example for us in His life. He literally died for the people who were killing Him because He loved them. When we understand how much God loves us, we can love those people in our lives who rub us wrong. “We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).” Jesus wouldn’t have told us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) if He wasn’t able to empower us to do so.
Whenever we have a hard time loving someone, we need to be like Joshua and the children of Israel at Jericho. Don’t be afraid. Step out in faith. Don’t fight. Trust in God to do what seems impossible. In Matthew 18:15, Jesus encourages us to talk out our issues with the person we’re struggling with. If we truly love them, we won’t be afraid to discuss the problem with them. We’ll strive to work it out in love. We were not given the spirit of fear but the power of love.