Hard Love is the title of a song by the group Need to Breathe and when I heard it this morning so many things began to move within me.
Listening the lyrics I misinterpreted them at first and thought, God’s love is not hard. He is so gentle, loving and kind. Most of the hard situations I’m in I bring on myself.
Slowly the lyrics began to sink in and it hit me. Hard love is living for God, crucifying the flesh (old man) every second of every day. I can honestly admit I have not been crucifying the flesh.
Today, I know the biggest factor in my depression was the situation with my grandmother. I couldn’t stand to look at her, hear her breathe or even talk to her. I’ve been the coldest, meanest & ugliest person to her. Admitting this might make it seem like I was in denial of it, but so many times I thought to myself, if I’m the closest she’ll ever come to Christ, why would she ever want to believe in Jesus?
I knew and I was fighting to destroy that part of the flesh. I want to live for Christ, I want to love my grandmother for the sake of my ONE TRUE LOVE. I want to be an example of Jesus every day. Yet, I would come home and immediately find myself unreasonably angry that she was in the kitchen. That meant I couldn’t avoid her.
Hard love was deciding I had to come home today and love her. Not because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s what Jesus wants me to do, but because I want to. Because if the only reason I am loving her is to be obedient to Christ, then what am I really giving up for Him? How am I really loving her if it is just to be in God’s good graces. Please don’t misunderstand, I want to love her for the right reasons, I want to love her because everyone deserves to be loved. I want to love her not because of who she is, but because that is what love is. Love is supposed to be blind and unrestricted.
Again, don’t misunderstand me. When I say blind, I mean holding another person’s past sins, mistakes & issues against them. When I say unrestricted, I mean we are to love as Jesus did without judgement.
I was so hung up on what my grandmother has done to me. To my mother. More so I was caught up with the fact she refuses to take responsibility for anything that’s happened in her life. It is never her fault, but someone else’s. My whole life I’ve had to answer for myself and the mistakes of others and that made me so bitter towards her.
I was so righteous in holding onto to all that my grandmother has done, I could not see the poison filling up every part of myself. Until it was too late and I was in too deep.
Hard Love is crucifying the flesh. Giving up something that has literally made up a piece of who we are for such a long time, it is like cutting off a limb. A limb that is not helping you in anyway.
This morning as I was struggling to find some way to change the situation with my grandmother, I was given a gift from God. Through the lyrics I’m about to write, God opened my eyes to what it means to really love Him.
A part of you has gotta die to change.
It’s not enough to just feel the flame
You gotta burn your old self away
You can’t change without a fallout. It’s gon hurt, but don’t you slow down.
It was God was telling me what I’ve read a thousand times in the Bible, but it just didn’t click for whatever reason. A part of me had to die to change towards my grandmother. There was no other way and trust me I’d been looking.
Today, another root of my depression was dug up by God and even now as I write this, that root is still burning in the cleansing flames of God’s grace.
I had to be ready. God had to bring me to the point in my life where I wasn’t just willing to start pulling up roots, but to see every part of it through. I have to be willing to see every part of myself that rejects HIM and throw it into the flames.
I can imagine how depression seems comforting at times because it is something we’ve held onto so long, we know it so well and exactly what to expect from it. Being free from a life long “comfort” is one of the scariest faith growing situations I’ve faced. I’ve been bitter and hateful towards my grandmother for at least 9 years. Saying I love you to her felt like the biggest lie I had to tell and it was on a daily basis, so the depression just kept pounding at me. How can you lie???? God hates liars!!! You’re no better than she is. You are just like her.
Those were the constant accusations my old self (the flesh) kept screaming at me and when I say screaming I mean it. I could hear nothing over those accusations at times and if that doesn’t depress you, I don’t know what would.
I want to remind you that God is on your side. Psalm 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? However, YOU CAN’T CHANGE WITHOUT A FALLOUT. YOU GOTTA BURN YOUR OLD SELF AWAY.
Even if it is root by root, year by year for however long it takes. I know I am not done with this journey, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy what God is doing during it. I am freed more and more every day by God and His love.
If Hard Love is what it takes to truly love God, to truly live for God…BRING IT. I have always done things the hard way, so this really is my fight. God bless the writers of this song, because it has begun a change in me I’ve been pleading for this entire year.