How do you hope in and believe the best of someone who is not living up to his/her responsibility. When a person has continually and persistently let you down (this could be financially, emotionally or even spiritually), it is hard to keep believing the best of that person; to look him/her in the eye each time and say even though I know you’ve messed up, I trust you to make it right.
That is my dad’s greatest strength and (in my opinion), his greatest weakness. No matter how many times people let him down, he still believes that there is something worthwhile about them and gives them a second (and third, fourth, fifth, ad nauseum) chance. I found it hard to take in as a child. And people who do not know better, continue to take advantage of him.
There was this young man my dad took in. His name was Joe, but my brothers and I nicknamed him CJ (Crazy Joe). He grew up on the streets and made a life as a hustler; he met my dad and said he really wanted to change. Looking back now, I know he really did want to change. The only problem was he kept stealing from us. He would steal and run away. When things got hard, he would crawl back weeping, begging forgiveness. And my dad would take him back. EVERY TIME.
Once he was to do the laundry in the house. When he did not turn up for lunch, we all thought he had gone on a stroll or something. By dinner time, we knew CJ had done it again. This time around, he ran away with all the clothes he was supposed to launder and probably sold them. It was months before we saw him again. When he showed up, he had full blown AIDS. Once again, my dad took him in. He left us just before he died.
CJ is just one of many strays my dad brought to our house. No matter how badly they behaved, my dad always saw something in them that was worth believing in. I found it hard to take in (still do as a matter of fact) but that is how we, as followers of Jesus are called to love.
It is so easy to love when the object of our love is doing well and pleasing us. When that person starts to misbehave or even ill-treat us, then the true test of love is seen. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says Love… believes all things, hopes all things…
Over at the group, Rosheeda broke it down like this:
- Love holds tightly
- to the conviction of the goodness, inherent power and ability of its object, and
- accepts all things as true, genuine, and real;
- it holds dear its desires,
- with confident expectation of obtainment in all things related to the object of its desire
Popular opinion says that if someone is not treating you right, let him/her go. Now, I absolutely do not condone abuse of any form – physical, verbal, mental or emotional. But I believe that if the person you are with is being abusive, you are still called to love that person. Just do it from a safe distance. You have to be alive first and able to love yourself before you can extend that courtesy to another person.
That being said, in a relationship (between a couple, family members or friends) it is impossible to be happy with your partner all the time. There are times when he/she is not living up to scratch. We hurt each other not because we are cruel but because we are human and being human we will fail (If we do not fail, where does grace come in?).
However, the mandate to love is strongest in the midst of that failure. When we have been let down badly by someone who we had a lot of faith in, it is then that we are to have even more faith in that person. We are supposed to ask for the grace to see that person as Jesus sees him/her and in so doing, we are able to hold on to God; trusting Him to make that person as He sees him/her.
Rosheeda said something that really made me think; she said
So I have made the conscious choice to speak over him what God says he is. If i can’t have faith in Sweetheart, I CAN have faith in God.
By the way, I’m always quoting Rosheeda because she is the one moderating the Love Dare over at the Being Mrs V group.
But that, for me, is true love. When you cannot believe the best about a person, you can still believe the best about the God who brought that person to your life. God is LOVE. He will never do you harm. Everything He brings your way is for good. Have faith in Him. Trust Him for what you believe the person you love will be. What are the positive things you want to see in that person? Speak them over the person’s life and trust God for them.
Which brings me to the next dare, LD 7 – Love Believes the Best
Get two sheets of paper. On one sheet write down all the positive things you can think of about your man. On the other, all the negatives. Then fold the lists and put them in a safe, private place. Dont’ throw them out because we are going to use them later. Take one thing from the list of the positives and thank your man for being that to you at some point during your day.
I guess my dad was able to look at CJ and see his potential, see what he could become. I would like to think that CJ died knowing that there was someone in this cruel, cold world that loved him unconditionally.
Have you ever lost faith in someone? it could be a spouse, child, sibling or friend; what are your hopes for that person? Or do you have an experience like that of my dad and CJ? Please share with us.