how can i love like christ?
we need to change a lot if we are to love others like christ loves us
How Does Jesus Love?
Jesus loves perfectly. Christ shows us what perfect love is. Perfect Love (Jesus) doesn’t just love those who love Him and do good to Him, but Perfect Love loves and does good to those who do bad and offend Him. Christ loves the SINNER.
God so loved us, sinners, that He sent His only Son to save us from our own sinfulness: to free us from the consequence of original sin, to forgive us of our sins and to show us how to obtain a saving faith, so we can accept His forgiveness.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him [with a saving faith] might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Oh, we, sinners, want to be loved by God. We want God to bless us, guide us, and help us despite our sinfulness. We want to be forgiven of our sins and shown The Way to Heaven.
But boy do we have a hard time loving–like Christ–when we see (or perceive) others sinning… especially if we see their offence as a grave sin.
Let’s say someone commits a horrible crime against innocent people. We all want to help and pray for the victims of the crime… but, since we lack the love of Christ in us, we don’t offer our prayers for the sinner… for the person guilty of the horrible crime. We want to help the victims, but we lack the love of Christ to want to help the criminal.
But ask yourself, did Christ come for the victim… or the criminal?
“I have come to call… sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).
Now, of course, God wants us to help victims of others’ crimes. But if we really want to love like Christ, we need to LOVE THE CRIMINAL too. We need to offer our forgiveness, prayers, help and condolences to the poor criminal… the one lacking the grace to do good… the one consumed with evil… so we can help him or her in their earthly life and assist him or her in obtaining the grace and guidance he or she needs to move towards the Light for the salvation of his or her soul… just like Christ does for us, criminals (sinners), every day.
Loving someone with the love of Christ that forgives those who do wrong is a MUST HAVE for anyone to be a true Christian. This is what Christianity is all about–forgiveness.
A lot of times we Christians will “say” we forgive, because we know it is the right thing to do. But our forgiveness that is actually in our hearts is far from true.
Christians must not only “say” we forgive, but our forgiveness must become TRUE forgiveness to where we lose all bitterness towards the sinner and seek what is good for anyone who does wrong… no matter how great the sin is. We must love–really love–even those who greatly hurt us, like Christ loves us, who greatly hurt Him.
“I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28).
Yes, loving and doing good to those who do us great harm is part of being a true Christian. This might be hard to do if we are greatly lacking God’s loving forgiving mercy within us. But this is what we must grow in faith to do.
“Christian virtue consists in wishing well to those who hate and injure us.”
–St. Alphonsus (True Spouse of Jesus Christ, Ch, 12)
Therefore, to truly follow Christ, we must grow in faith, through God’s grace, to lose all resentment towards those who hurt us. We must think with love, treat with kindness and do good for those who even grievously sin against us, with a genuine forgiving love for them, like Christ forgives and loves us sinners.
“I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do [for others]” (John 13:15).
No Forgiveness – No Salvation
But perhaps even more shocking than the fact that we must bless those who hurt us, if we want to love like Jesus, is the fact that, if we want salvation–to be forgiven of our sins–we must mature in our faith to obtain this kind of true love and forgiveness for everyone for everything, or we will reject Salvation for sin.
“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14).
Without truly forgiving others, like Christ forgives us, we won’t be forgiven. We will reject God’s forgiveness, since we refuse to love like Christ.
Yet, how many of us think we can live our lives not really forgiving people, having all kinds of bitterness towards others because of what they have done to us and still believe we are going to accept God’s forgiveness and obtain salvation when we die? That is not what God has said.
“If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:15)
God is clear. It doesn’t matter how many prayers we pray, or how many wonderful things we do for others, if we still haven’t grown in faith to forgive–truly forgive–EVERYONE, we won’t be forgiven. Our faith will be in vain.
For nobody is saved who’s sins (all of our sins) are not forgiven.
“Do you not know that the unjust [those not forgiven] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived” (1 Corinthians 6:9).
Just look into our lives at all the people we have a negative mind set towards because of what they have done. Those are the people we haven’t truly forgiven.
Without a doubt, if we refuse to truly forgive others, we will reject Our Lord’s gift of forgiving saving mercy that is waiting to save us from the punishment we deserve in Hell because of our offences against Him. We will reject Our Lord’s forgiveness, because we want to stay hardened in our own sins–in our refusal to love and forgive like Christ.
This article will explain how to obtain a truly loving and forgiving heart like Christ truly loves and forgive us… and will also teach us about the rest of how God loves us, so we can learn how to really love like Jesus.
We Must Change
Please know, those, who truly hate their sins and sincerely want to leave them, who are TRULY SORRY for offending God, who are truly repentant and can accept God’s forgiveness, don’t just “say” they are sorry and then continue and continue in their sins without seeking Mercy for strength (helping grace) and working hard to leave them.
When we have grown in faith to come to true contrition (true sorrow) for our sins, we repent and turn away from our sins and to God for strength to amend them. Our unforgiveness, lack of love or any sin just doesn’t continue, when the strength of God is waiting to take it away.
“Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity [sin] will be your ruin” (Ezekiel 18:30).
Staying complacent with our sins, whether it is our unforgiveness towards another or with any sin, proves we are far from being truly sorry for offending God.
Nobody can say we are sorry we have “grieved him [Our Beloved Lord] to his heart” (Genesis 6:6), and really mean it, if we just continue in our sins without concern. That proves a great lack of sorrow and great lack hatred for offending Our Beloved Lord.
“A gracious God gives us the hope of forgiveness of guilt, IF we repent with contrition [true sorrow] and set forth a firm intention to flee past sins… This is the essence of repentance.”
–St. Theophan the Recluse (The Spiritual Life, #36)
Sadly, most have been deceived into only caring about getting mercy from God, and we have little to no concern about stopping our horrible offences against Him. From this self-loving mind set (our lack of concern for God/lack of sorrow for offending Him), we are actually rejecting the very mercy we desire.
Please know, to accept God’s forgiving mercy, we must grow in faith, so our sorrow for offending God can become True Sorrow… not a sorrow because we were caught doing wrong or a sorrow derived from our pride being injured, since we did what we didn’t want, but a true sorrow for inuring God, for increasing His suffering at His crucifixion (since He boar the weight of all our sins) and for wounding His Sacred Heart of Love.
This true contrition, the sorrow we must seek Our Savior to give us and keep within us, is a sorrow and hatred for sin so great, we would rather SUFFER ANYTHING than offend Our Beloved Lord with the slightest sin.
“In your struggle against sin [temptation] you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood [rather than offend Me. You still lack true contrition]” (Hebrews 12:4).
Nobody, with true sorrow for offending God… just casually commits sin. Those with TRUE LOVE for God–who truly hate offending Him–are consumed with a desire to never sin again.
“As I examine myself, I am sure that I would prefer to die rather than to offend my dear Jesus deliberately by a single sin, even a minor one.”
–St. Padre Pio (Letter to Fr. Benedetto, Aug 17, 1914)
Even if we don’t yet have this intense desire to not offend God, and sincerely just want this desire… this kind of true hatred for sin/true love for God–we would not live our life indifferent with our sins–not even one of them–whether it is our lack of love and forgiveness or with any sin.
Ignoring anything that a real self-sacrificing saint would not do… like the fact that we don’t even go to Church, or that we are impatient, or impure, or lazy, or self-indulgent, or vain, or self-seeking (seek things for our benefit)… or that we worry or complain (lack trust in God/want our will)… or that we seek many things in this world as our source of happiness, which are not God or His will (are our idols)… even with the slightest thing, just doesn’t happen. If we want a truly contrite heart for offending God, we don’t ignore any of our sins. We don’t focus on other’s sins. We work hard to see our own sins, to grow in sorrow for them and to stop them.
Yes, when we want Jesus to save us, to give us this faith that hates all of our sins so greatly we would rather suffer anything than sin against Our Lord–we sincerely want to change and leave EVERYTHING that is in anyway offensive to God.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments [all His Word]” (John 14:15).
Nobody, who truly wants to love God continues and continues in our sins, no matter how slight they are. Without accepting much of Our Lord’s grace to obtain this wonderful true love for Him and true contrition for committing our sins (a saving faith), we will reject His forgiveness. Please don’t be deceived.
Our Sins Are Not Leaving
If we can look honestly into our lives, we will see we are not truly keeping God’s commandments, nor are we sincerely trying, proving we are very far from a saving faith. We have a lot to change.
Sadly, most of us don’t care at all about our sins, and we commit them and many of them we continue in, not noticing them, nor even thinking of them… nor even trying in the slightest to not repent or leave even one of them. We simply are not truly sorry for offending God.
Oh, how many of us poor souls are rejecting Our Savior and choosing the “everlasting fire[s] [of Hell]” (Matthew 25:41). It is hard to fathom.
“Even through His yoke [command that leads to Life] is easy and His burden [cross that purifies us] light, there are FEW who wish to receive Him [His saving grace] and be saved through Him [sadly, most choose our sins instead].”
–St. Francis of Assisi, (Letter to All the Faithful)
Please know, if we lack true sorrow/true hatred for just ONE sin, we will reject God to remain in that sin. Yes, we have a big problem. “Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in ONE point has become guilty of all of it [and must repent to be saved]” (James 2:10). Oh, we are not repenting; we have hardly any hatred for sin at all. God’s mercy really needs to change our hearts or we will die. He is waiting for us!
But for others, who have some desire to leave sin, the devil tricks us, who are not sincere in our efforts, into saying, “I’m doing my best to stop”, so we can placate our pride, remain lukewarm in our lives and not look HONESTLY into ourselves so we can change. Because when we TRULY hate our sins, WE STOP THEM. We will be growing into saints.
“Come to your senses and sin no more” (1 Corinthians 15:34).
We can not continue to confess our sins, but then repeat them all over again and think we are being forgiven. That just is not true. We are not truly sorry for them. We are rejecting His mercy, since we don’t truly hate our sins.
For the salvation of our souls, we can’t continue to lie to ourselves anymore, or we will die. We must gain humility (honesty with who we are). We are people who lack TRUE repentance, and NEED Jesus to give us a saving faith (continuous true repentance for our sins).
“Repentance without amendment gains nothing.”
–St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church (Sermon on Christmas Eve)
Now, of course, even if we have sought God to increase our hatred for sin (increase our love for Him) and have allowed God to transform our hearts into a saving faith of continuous true repentance (true sorrow), we will still fall into sin.
But from accepting God’s grace and working hard to not repeat any sin, we will no longer habitually continuing in them because we are inordinately attached to them from not truly hating them. We will be attached to God, sincerely desiring to love Him. Because of this love for God, our sins, if we had habitual sins before we obtained a saving faith, will be leaving. We will be stopping/amending them… for it is hard to willfully commit a single sin, when we would rather die than sin.
As long as we remain with a saving faith of continuous true contrition, we won’t be acquiring any new habits of sinning. Because we will be looking for our sins, repenting (accepting grace) and making resolutions to ensure we don’t commit them again.
“He is a scoffer [someone who mocks the faith, who thinks he can take mercy without true sorrow], not a penitent [not someone truly sorry for his sins], who [easily] commits what he repented of. Nor is he cleansed [forgiven] who weeps for his sins, yet does not forsake them [leave them].”
—St. Isadore of Seville (De Summo Beno ii)
Can we see the big problem here? We aren’t looking for our sins (how we aren’t a true self-sacrificing saint), repenting of them, nor making sure we don’t commit them again (so we can become a saint, who perfectly loves God).
Sadly, our actions prove, we are not even seeking Jesus to save us… to give us a saving faith. We think we are good enough, proving we just don’t hate our sins. Sadly, our sorrow and hatred for our sins is not increasing and our habitual sins are not little by little leaving? For the most part, we are the same person today as we were yesterday, as we were month ago. Some of us have the same personality problems that we have had our whole life. We don’t truly hate our sins. We are not becoming true self-sacrificing saints… we are loving our sins.
Please know, God didn’t call us to be sinners; we are “called to be saints” (1 Corinthians 1:2). If we want salvation, we must change… and not only lose our attachment to our lack of love and forgiveness, we must also detach from all of our sins we habitually continue in.
“Many people say a great many prayers, and even go frequently to the Sacraments; but they still keep their bad habits, and die in them, because they strive, at one and the same time, to be friends of God and friends of sin [don’t leave their sinful habits to love God].”
–St. John Vianney (Sermon: False and True Virtue)
Accepting Mercy Brings Change
As Christians, we have all had different experiences with God, that is, if we have accepted some of God’s grace. It is God’s grace (His mercy), when we accept it, that allows us to experience God’s love for us. And it is this love from God that is going to help us obtain a faith that truly detests our sins and truly loves Him. It is this love–God’s grace–that will help us to love like Jesus and obtain salvation.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith [a saving faith]” (Ephesians 2:8).
God is constantly sending us His grace. Oh, we don’t deserve this grace. It isn’t given to us because we are so good, but He sends it over and over again hoping we will accept it, simply because we are His children and He wants us in Heaven. To love like Jesus, we need to love and send grace (through our prayers and sacrifices) to all of God’s children too, and we need to do it for no other reason except that they are His children, and God wants them in Heaven.
However, some of us have been Christians, who have actually never even had an experience with the true and living God. Sadly, there are Christians, who have never, not even one-time, accepted enough of God’s grace to even feel His love for us. We have never accepted His grace to experience being called by Him, healed by Him, helped by Him nor changed by Him. To learn more please read, “God Calls All of Us to Change.”
Many Christians have no grace to give us a desire to attend Church, to pray or to strive to live His commandments that lead to salvation. These poor Christians just go through life, perhaps, saying we are Christian, since we were born into the faith, or maybe we converted once but lost living the faith some time ago.
However, if God has now touched us, since we have accepted some of His grace–and we want God to remove our unloving, unforgiving hearts and to give us hearts of true hatred for EVERY SIN, a saving faith with a sincere desire to never sin again, we must greatly change our lives so to become able to accept A LOT of His grace… for we have many many sins that we lack true contrition for.
“If the soul, fallen into what sins soever, corresponds to the grace of God [allows God to change her heart] and [finally] abhors her past sins, with a resolution and a [sincere] will to sin no more [has true contrition], he immediately frees her from her guilt.”
–St. Catherine of Genoa (Life and Doctrine, Ch.11)
This is the power of God’s grace. It will give us true hatred for our sins and forgive us. God’s grace will save us if we only believe.
How much do we believe in Jesus and His grace? Are we REALLY willing to do what is necessary to change our lives, so we can accept and keep His grace, so He can save us? We will have to do a lot. We will have to give up our sins and the world’s plesures that we seek for happiness… even the love of ourselves (pride). All so we can truly love God.
This notion that we don’t have to do anything to accept God’s grace, so to become saved, is simply not true. While it is true that God died and sent us saving grace to us from nothing we, miserable sinners, have done… so we have nothing to boast.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
But if we want Our Lord’s saving forgiving grace, our free will must accept it. To grow in faith to be able to accept it, we have a lot to change, since many things we are doing are rejecting Our Lord’s saving forgiving grace.
“You have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4).
This lie of the devil, that we don’t have to do anything to be saved was made to keep us complacent with our sins, so we won’t be motivated to work hard to change nor seek Mercy for help to grow into true love for God and true contrition for our sins. Then we will reject God for sin and die.
If we want to become saved, we must labor and change our entire lives, since it is our wrong living that is rejecting God. We must do this with great fear of being lost, so we don’t grow slack in our efforts.
“He who does not fear and tremble for his salvation will not be saved: to save the soul, it is necessary to labor, and to do violence to nature [destroy our desire for sin]… To obtain eternal glory, our life must be found at death conformable to the life of Jesus Christ. Hence we must be careful, on the one hand, to avoid the occasions of sin and on the other, to adopt the means necessary to attainment of eternal Life.”
–St. Alphonsus (Preparation for Death, Consideration 12)
Where is Our Grace?
Many of us have testimonies of what God has done for us, but sadly most our testimonies are over. Sure we might still be doing acts of charity for God. But many of us are no longer growing closer to God, being healed by God, nor leaving our sins from the help of God’s grace. We remain the same person from day to day or we are getting worse and becoming less like Jesus. It is so sad.
One of the biggest problems with the people of faith is that we believe going to Church, gaining prayers, knowledge and good works proves we are truly faithful and correctly following Christ. We see people who are so nice, so loving, so happy, doing so much good, and we and them presume they are living the faith correctly. But that simply is not true. That notion is how the devil prides and blinds people of faith, so we can live blind self-righteous lives.
Yes, we, people of faith, want to know, love and serve God. We want to become holy, but sadly, most are doing this with proud blind hearts that still love sin.
God comes to us; we experience His love, and we change a bit. But then we think, from our growth in faith, we are now doing most everything that is good and right… we think we are surely better than the rest of the world. But that just isn’t true.
Sure, we will acknowledge that we still are not perfect, but we are so far from understanding our misery… so far from being truly humble… so far from understanding our nothingness… not even recognizing we still have bounds of sins we should be changing. We are not perfect self-sacrificing saints.
I tell you, Hell is full of people, who have made great sacrifices, who have done great acts of charity, who have brought others to Jesus, who we think are so wonderful, because they think they are so wonderful too. Yes, we don’t know our own misery… we are proud, and pride (being attached to self-love) kills. Please don’t be deceived. To learn more please read, “Our Nothingness.”
The problem is, we might be growing in our acts of faith, knowledge, and experiencing God’s love for us, but at the same time, we are growing in our pride too. This pride winds up canceling out the transforming grace that was sent through those pious acts, which we could have been accepted if we were humble. It is this pride that leads to horrible blindness (not seeing our sinfulness nor understanding the Way to Life) and to a dead faith: a faith not growing into a saving faith.
“The pride of your heart has deceived you” (Obadiah 3).
After we grow in acts of faith, if we are not also growing in humility–understanding of our nothingness/sinfulness– all the things we are doing in our faith will increase our pride us. We will find our happiness in priding ourselves with being “religious” and succes in what we are doing. But in the eyes of God, despite our passion for the faith, we are far from being a true religious.
Depending on how much we suffer from pride, we can reject most if not every drip of transforming help God is sending.. we won’t be growing in true love for God and hatred and contrition for our sins, we will be growing in self praise.
We can pray wanting to do what is good and God’s will, looking for God’s guidance, but we will only receive confused, warped guidance due to our pride. We might hear part of what God wants… part of what is true. but from our pride, we will think all our experiences and interperattion of reality is correct. Yet, our pride is just deceiving us.
Many are born with natural happy peaceful dispositions, others can become wonderfully happy and be in peace from God’s grace, which is where we should all be. But if we don’t realize there is still so much more we need to obtain a saving faith, we will still die. We will then we live proud and blind… not understand what really saves. Please know, the devil doesn’t have to make us unhappy monsters to damn us, all he needs to do is prevent us from having true contrition for just one sin.
God is Still Calling Us
Of course, please know, even with great pride, God is still trying to get us to see and is touching our lives. He even uses our sin and prideful thinking, since that is all we know, to bring us to Him. This is the kind of love Jesus has for us. He is constantly tolearting our sinfulness and coming to us where we are in our lives… trying to do something to help move us towards Life. Most never see His help, but it is constantly there. This is the kind of love we need to show to others too, if we are to love like Jesus.
Many who are living in great sin still “feel” God’s love and experience His help and miracles… since He wants to use that to move us to want to truly Love Him. But who of us are being moved by God’s acts of love and are continuing to leave our life of sin really working towards perfection since we can’t bear to offend God? Do we really want to love God in return for all He has done for us?
“Those who love him and keep his commandments” (Deuteronomy 7:9).
After we saw God’s love for us, did we return that love by changing our lives of sin into lives of virtue? Did we change our self-seeking lives into lives that happily gave up the world’s pleasures, like the true saints have done, to help send grace, through the cross, to save souls (ours and others), like Christ has done for us? Did we do this? Did we see God’s love and become inspired to change to leave all of our trespasses against Him and sincerely strive to become a saint, so we can truly love Him in return?
For most of us, the answer is no. After all God has done for us, which is FAR above what we can even comprehend, we never sought to really love Him in return. We just took His grace, maybe said “thank you” and remained the same. Or even worse, we grew in our pride and thought those acts of love somehow proved our “holiness.” Tragic!
But for others, perhaps after we heard God call us or He healed us or we, at least, had a desire to go to Church; we did change a little. But then something happened, and we stopped. Did we get caught up in our works, finding happiness in them? Perhaps, we thought we were rather holy and not needing to really focus on leaving sin.
Maybe after God came to us and/or helped us, instead of us continuing to go to Him, so we can progress in our faith to come to truly love Him (come to true hatred for our sins), we found a new desire (an idol). Then we began to lose interest in God and left the pious (religious) things we were doing, that sent grace, and went in pursuit of different worldly interests looking for happiness.
Many of us, from not stopping our fall away from God, keep on falling away from Him, even leaving Him all together, even to the point that we stop believing in Him… becoming totally void of grace. Sadly, so may never see our fall from grace and live believing we are doing well and are right in our thinking, even though we have no grace from God (true wisdom) guiding us. This is what is truly scary and why the world is so confused. We don’t realize that without God’s grace moving us, we can’t do anything truly good… then we will think we are doing what is right, but it will be far from it. For we are really being guided by our pride, which leads to death.
Or maybe after God changed us, we became self-righteous, thinking we are so wonderfully faithful now. From this pride, even though on the outside we seem to be practicing the faith and may even appear to be greatly faithful, and we could even be feeling God’s peace and help when we seek Him with our worldly concerns, since He sends His help when we ask. But sadly, we are still far growing into a saving faith, far from being able to accept His true wisdom and transforming grace, since we lack humility and aren’t even seeking Him to save us. This pride can become so bad, that as we are in the Church doing seemingly rightous acts, which is supposed to help us obtain grace, we are actually loosing it.
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
Yes, many of us have been touched by God, and we think we are correctly living the faith, since we are practicing and/or growing in our prayers, knowledge and works… and don’t seem to have mortal sin on our souls.
But sadly, we are far from living the faith correctly and have a lot to change. We are not even growing in virtue (consistently gaining greater qualities of Christ), since we are NOT leaving our sins… not our venial sins… proving we are mortally attached to those sin. Now, from those habitual sins, not caring that we are offending God the Almighty with those sins, we are rejecting/abandoning God and His grace to stay in our sins.
“Having committed a venial and pardonable sin, he augmented it [made it greater] through habitual practice [becoming attached to it], trusting in his other good works [to make up for the sin], without thinking that I might take lesser sins into account. Caught in a net of habitual and inordinate pleasures [from the sin], his soul neither corrected nor curbed his sinful intention [to remain in the sin]…
[However,] until a sinner’s final moment God abides him [tolerates him], waiting to see if he is going to direct his free will away from his attachment to sin… If a soul’s will [to remain in the sin] is not corrected [doesn’t come to truly hate the sin and never want to commit it again], that soul is then confined by an end without end [Hell].”
–Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden (Book 3, Ch. 19)
Yes, we have a big problem. We have many many (at least) venial sins we are not leaving and are habitually attached to. Now, we know our prayers, works and knowledge gained have been done and acquired through great pride. Because the result of our prayers, knowledge and works, IF they were done with a real humble contrite heart, a heart that can accept some amount of transforming grace, leads to the gaining of virtue (fruit) from the removal of sin.
“The end of prayer is to correct our faults.”
-–St. Francis De Sales (The Secrets of Sanctity, Third Treatise, Prayer Ch 1, Sec. 4 & Ch 10)
Horribly the devil has deceived us. We don’t know why we should be doing all that we do. We don’t know that it is so we can love God: to CORRECT OUR FAULTS so we can not offend Him… which results in our and other’s salvation. So, we pray and do endless things wanting to love and know God, to seek His help and to do His will, but from our pride (self-love), we do not know that is so we “do not sin again” (John 8:11)… so, we do it all with proud hearts.
But, from trying to do the right thing, we think we are living the faith and doing God’s will, but we are deceived and actually leaving God (rejecting grace), with each sin we continue in unconcerned.
“God says, ‘Why are you transgressing the LORD’s commands, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have abandoned the LORD [from remaining in your sins], he has abandoned you [since you have rejected His grace for sin]” (2 Chronicles 24:20).
To obtain this grace we need to begin to allow God to transform us into a saving faith, we must change our lives and decide we never want to sin again and want to become a saint. To learn more please read, “How to Become a Saint.”
We Need to Love God
For many of us today, if we are wanting to leave sin, it is probably just one sin that we care about? Sadly, we aren’t really concerned and working to stop ALL of our offences against God. We are complacent with most. And, if we are trying to leave some sin, it is most likely for the wrong reason.
Perhaps we want to leave sin to be the best person we can be… to build up our pride, so we can feel good about ourselves. Or we want to change so to not hurt ourselves or another (which is good) but it is not for the most important reason, the reason we NEED to truly repent, which is to LOVE GOD.
Yes, if we want a saving faith, we must grow in our desire as to why we are doing what we are doing, and it must become so we can truly love God.
But please tell me, who of us is sincerely trying to leave ALL of our trespasses, so we can perfectly love God, because WE CAN’T BEAR TO OFFEND GOD AGAIN? Is there anyone with this kind of love for God?
Sadly, this is not our motive to leave sin. The reason we don’t have this kind of desire to love God is because we have not sought Mercy to save us… we have not gone to God to give us this kind of true love for Him.
But now is the time to change… to learn how to truly love and forgive one another like Jesus and to stop our sins, so we can truly love God.
If we want to do this, we must be HONEST with ourselves, or from our pride, we will die.
We need to know, once we stop changing or remain stuck in sin–any sin–we know it is from a lack of humility and a lack of horror for sin (lack of love for God). We know that if we are praying, we still lack sincerity in wanting help to stop offending God (to correct our errors), because all it takes is one sincere cry to God, and we obtain, at least, some grace to change.
“Everyone who [sincerely] calls on the name of the Lord [truly never wanting to sin again] shall be saved [given grace to obtain a saving faith]” (Romans 10:13).
Now, please know, it is unfathomably easy to lose that grace (helping or saving grace), if we obtain it, since just one careless sin can reject it all. But if we truly want to amend, we most certainly would be making progress in doing that. To learn more please read, “How Can I Stop Sinning?”
A lot of the time, even if we are humble and know we need God to change/save us, we pray but our desire to amend is too little to obtain enough grace to actually change. Our lack of change could also be from our prayers actually being void of any meaning (praying them out of habit or without thought or desire) or we are seeking help from God for some selfish worldly gain (which at times God will tolerate, hoping one day, from experiencing His loving help, we will want to truly love Him in return).
Therefore, we might be inspired by God to do good and want to know and serve Him, but if we are not consistently leaving sin, growing into the image of Christ–a true self-sacrificing saint–we have not advanced in our faith to accept God’s helping transforming grace or we accepted it once but lost it through pride.
“Repent, therefore, and be converted [hate and leave the sin], that your sins may be wiped away”(Acts 3:19).
So, if we have a faith that is not bearing fruit, that is not becoming like Jesus, we know we are not united with God (not in a state of grace), since “whoever remains in me and I in him [is united with God from having a saving faith] will bear much fruit” (John 15:5).
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control [not just when things go well, but all of the time].” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Please don’t be deceived, after years of being a Christian, from wanting grace and trying to live the faith, if we were doing it correctly (moving towards a saving faith and sanctity)–actually gaining transforming grace–by now we should be wonderfully trusting in God, without worry or complaint, loving our crosses, fantastically patient, beautifully pure, loving, forgiving and understanding of everyone and all their imperfections. This is what truly following Christ brings. It makes us true follows of Christ. This is what saves.
“The soul that follows and imitates Him more and more becomes more and more like Him… In imitation of the Son of God, the God-Man, the children of God are to work away at their salvation [to lose their desire for sin so to gain a true love for God/a saving faith].”
–St. Maximilian Kolbe, (Will to Love, Christ Transforms Us)
For, when we are correctly following Christ–striving to perfectly obey Him–because we truly believe that is The Way to Heaven and how we love God, from accepting the power of God’s transforming grace, we grow in faith to no longer do what we want. His grace make us no follow our sinful, self-loving desires. We finally do what God (Goodness) wants.
So, as we grow in this grace being steadfast in our efforts to leave our sinful will–to never sin again–we will be consistently, little by little, leaving what we desire: our habitual sins and all sin, and we will be gaining and perfecting virtue (qualities of Christ).
“Let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:4).
Therefore, if we want to truly repent of all of our sins, especially our lack of love and forgiveness of others, so we can love God and His children and begin to advance correctly in our faith, then we need to turn from our sins and to Our Savior to help us leave them (which is explained below).
Learning how to leave our lack of love and forgiveness that we have towards those who hurt us is a great sin to start with so to move forward in obtaining a saving faith. This sin is the underlying factor for endless other sins we are clinging to.
From there, through His grace and our free will, as we work together to come to truly hate sin and change, as long as we remain in humility and persist to our end, we will grow in faith to become no longer spiritually attached to sin (not having any vicious habit), and we will become attached to Our Savior and saved. Praise God!
“If a person is at the moment of death [still] possessed of a vicious habit, his soul will descend into hell [for not hating the sin and still being spiritually attached to it and not God].”
–St. John Vianney (Sermons of the Cure d’Ars, Last Sunday After Pentecost)
But please know, regardless of whether we want to change or have true sorrow for offending God or not, Jesus loves and desires to forgive all of us for everything. God doesn’t harbor unforgiving anger towards us even when we constantly offend Him. Therefore, if we want to be forgiven and to Love like Jesus, we need to do the same.
Of course, we will not be able to accept God’s forgiveness, if we lack true contrition (true sorrow) for any of the wrongs we have done. But if we seek God for grace, so we can grow in faith to come to sincerely hate our sins and love like Jesus, then we will be on our way towards a saving faith: of true love for God and true sorrow for all sin.
Yes, we will have to do a lot to accept God’s helping grace that leads to a truly contrite heart. This is why we have an entire Bible of directions. It is so we can, from our free will, follow them to obtain more grace so He can transform us into a saving faith. It isn’t so we can do nothing and then expect to embrace His saving forgiving mercy and Live.
This notion that we don’t have to do anything to accept God’s grace or to become saved is utterly false. If we only understood how much grace God is constantly sending us, and how we reject most of it, we would be astounded. To learn more please read, “God is Constantly Calling to Change.” Endless things we do either accept or reject God. God doesn’t force us to accept His grace. We must from our free receive Him.
“All who received him [His grace], who [grew in faith and truly] believed in his name [Jesus as The Way.. not any idol], he gave power [grace] to become children of God” (John 1:12).
Frankly, there is a lot more to learn about this kind of hatred for sin–true contrition–that we need to Live. To learn more please read, “What is True Sorrow?”
The reason for all of our problems and the reason we have such a hard time loving like Christ is because of our pride. Oh, our minds are a mess, and it is for one reason… our pride. Every worry or fear, self-loving anger or complaint, self-pity or jealousy, depression or anxiety… or whatever negative issue we suffer from is from our pride…. as we desire to have what we don’t or think we don’t have or even might not have leaves us far from loving like Jesus.
If our negative thinking, concerns, losses, wants and disappointments are left to manifest–if we continue to dwell on what we don’t have or think we don’t have or might not have–and we don’t notice its onset and neglect to repent and seek mercy for strength to not repeat this prideful way of thinking (don’t learn how to surrender our will for God’s), this negative, self-loving thinking, can develop into great psychological problems and can even bring on physical ailments with in us. But with perseverance in learning how to truly live the faith, there is a way to peace. To learn more please read “How Can I Find True Happiness?”
Of course, that isn’t to denounce the fact that there are real and true psychiatric conditions that aren’t derived from sin but are from the weakness of our bodies, which God can still heal. But for most of us, the problems in our minds are from our own doing, from us not truly repenting at the first sign of sin… then habituating in the sin until it becomes a big problem.
Sadly, some of us have such a problem with our pride, if someone just looks at us in a way we do not like, we become upset. We imagine all sorts of evils they must be thinking about us. We do this with endless thing… if someone doesn’t return our phone call or doesn’t treat us how we desire. We are as mess, wishing we had what we didn’t receive.
We don’t forgive them and move on like nothing happened. We greatly lack love for them from being focused on ourselves and our insecurities, wanting respect, approval, love, or friendship. Then we start making so many rash judgements about them. We are quite self-absorbed.
“Most of the conflicts arising in the interior life of many people are products of their own imagination: “the things people have said, what they are thinking, whether I am appreciated…” The poor souls suffers, through this pathetic foolishness [from their pride], harboring suspicions that are unfounded…
All of this because he doesn’t wish to be humble, because he hasn’t learned to forget himself in order to give himself generously in the service of others for the love of God.”
–St. Josemaría Escrivá (Friends of God, #101)
Our lives are not supposed to be focused on ourselves trying to obtain what we want. We are supposed to be focused on loving and helping others obtain salvation… through carrying the cross. But tragically, we want to do good, but since we are without grace to really know what that is, we are not truly focused on loving and helping others, but focused on being esteemed, liked and/or cared for, which is really seeking to increase our self-love (pride).
However, if we want to learn how to love and find The Way of Peace, we need to desire to decrease, so that God’s grace in us may increase. This is really the key to everything (humility). This will help us learn how to love, since pride–not realizing how miserable of a sinner we are (how we are nothing) and wanting to be seen and treated far above what we are or deserve–refutes grace and makes us quite unloving. To learn more please read, “Our Nothingness”
As long as we live proudly wanting to be served and not living to serve (focused on self-love and not on love of others), we will think and act outside of Love. Oh, we can pretend like we want to serve and help others, especially if we do “good works”, and I’m sure part of us does want to do such things. But in reality, as our thoughts and actions prove, much of the time we are just lying to ourselves… for we will only happily serve doing what we like, when we like and for who we like.
If we are called to do what we don’t like, when we don’t like it and to whom we don’t like, we are with a bunch of complaints… trying to get out of it the best we can, that is, unless we can see some kind of self-gain (success or accomplishment for ourselves) from doing it. Therefore, we aren’t really living to serve, but living to self-serve.
“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Matthew 20:28).
Oh, we must learn how to love like Jesus. Because right now, if someone we don’t like wants help from us, even if it is them asking us to do something great for another, from us harboring a grudge against them, we want nothing to do with them. We will even refuse to do good from our lack of forgiveness. If we do help because we “have to”, we do it with a heart greatly lacking love.
How many of us, if someone complains about us, or even makes a judgement about us that we disagree with, we burst out complaining about them, becoming angry with them. Where is our love and understanding? From our pride, wanting to be seen as great, we declare how dare he/she say we have done something wrong, who are so correct and wonderful, as we try to point out how wrong or stupid he/she is. Some of us just go on and on wining over our injuries to our pride.
Okay, perhaps we aren’t so agressive in our response to a complaint or to someone not agreeing with us. But if someone doesn’t agree with us, do we feel fustrated we didn’t obtain what we wanted? Does that criticism hurt us? If it does… it is hurting our pride, since we are focused on ourselves, which finds its happiness if being approved.
Speaking and acting with a fustrated or hurt pride, is speaking and acting without grace. We might pretend like we are wanting to help and enlighten the other, who doesn’t understand, but from our pride what we are really doing is trying to gain power for ourselves… to prove we are right.
Oh, we easily show our fantastic lack of love and unforgiveness in how we dwell over the wrongs (or seemingly wrongs) of others. All we need to do is open our eyes, and then we can see ourselves for who we really are, so we can begin to repent and change.
Sadly, instead of loving and forgiving, in retaliation, to try to build up ourselves and gain power again, since their comments injured our pride, perhaps we try to hurt their character (talk badly about them), or maybe we reject and ignore them, or we say some insult right back to them, or we try to prove ourselves right… oh, we can do any number of other things to try to squish them (to make them feel bad all to make ourselves feel good), which is far from what a heart of love and forgiveness, who really cares about others would do. Yes, sadly, from our horrible pride, we do this. We greatly lack love and mercy towards those who injure us.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
If we look for these poor behaviors of ours in our lives, we will become enlightened. But most of us have many moments where we are angry, grumpy or complaining… not even looking for our sins (our lack of love), which are causing them. It is really easy to see ourselves acting like this if we just pay attention to our emotions.
If we see anything other than peace in our hearts, just ask God to show us why this is occurring and how we can stop. Then seek His grace for help (there are further instructions later in this article to help). If we don’t carefully pay attention to our thoughts, words and actions, and why we are really doing what we do, we will continue blindly in these unloving behaviors, never growing in faith to truly hate them… never becoming truly sorry for them, all the way to our end. Tragic!
But for the humble Christian, who has grown in faith correctly, who now has much of God’s loving, forgiving mercy in their hearts, those issues are not an issue… no criticism, nor wrong look, nor misconception, nor ingratitude, nor wrong judgement, nor poor behavior towards us are a problem for us. It is our pride, that makes it one.
When we obtain enough of God’s grace to become a true Christian, we forgive and love everyone regardless of what they do and of course look for ways we can help them (according to God’s will). Our mind is focused on loving them not ourselves. Therefore, if we want this life of love, we need to seek God to crush our pride and give us hearts of true love, who sincerely want to serve, so we can become true humble Christians like Jesus.
Such lack of love are terrible sins that reject Salvation (if not repented). Please don’t take such malice against another lightly. We are called to LOVE… “not to be served [not to be loved and treated well] but to serve [to love and treat others well]” (Matthew 20:28).
We cannot just love and do good to those, who build up our self-esteem and puff up our egos… saying things we want to hear. To follow Christ we should be seeking the opposite. To learn more please read, “How Does Our Pride Kill Us?”
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same [you are no better than a good atheist]” (Luke 6:32-33).
Please know, nobody can consider ourselves possibly a true Christian, who has a saving faith–who is united with Christ’s love–if we do not have God’s Heart of Love and forgiveness in us. For nobody is saved (accepts God’s forgiveness), who lacks TRUE love and forgiveness of the sinner (or anyone)… clinging to those sins rejects God’s forgiveness for sin. Please don’t be deceived.
God’s Love is Even More
Please don’t think this is the end of how God loves. No. There is more God desires for us to do if we are to love like Jesus.
As we know, Jesus removed the consequences of original sin, by taking the punishment we deserve for our sins, so we could be welcomed into Heaven… and of course we can’t do that. That is why He is Our Savior, since we can’t save ourselves.
But Jesus didn’t just give us the gift of perfect forgiveness and atonement of our sins, that we received at our baptism, knowing we will reject it, from our love for sin (our lack of true sorrow for committing them), and not give us a remedy for us to obtain it again. He knows “worldly sorrow produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). God wants us in Heaven.
Therefore, Jesus came to earth not just to take our punishment for our crimes, but He also came to to ENLIGHTEN us to our sinfulness and TEACH US–by His example and words–how to grow in sorrow for sinning (to grow in love with Him). Yes, He came to Enlighten and Teach us how to detest and leave our sins and live the faith that saves for the salvation of our souls.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
It is this “enlightening to our sinfulness” and “teaching of The Way” that we need to do for others too, if we are to love like Christ. That way, we can help others see what they are doing wrong, so they can correctly change their lives and truly follow Christ to receive the greatest gift of love… Eternal Life.
Enlightening and teaching is VERY HARD to do without sinning ourselves. If we don’t approach this act of love, with great humility, we will do it without love. We must constantly have humility (our own misery) on our minds and be constantly thinking of what is best for the other. If a proud self-loving thought perhaps thinking how terrible the person is we are “helping” comes to our minds or how we are somehow better than the person[s] we are trying to help comes into our thoughts, we must banish it quickly. Or the devil will ruin our works and kill our soul through them.
Also, speaking directly to another in a way that doesn’t offend, since our prides are so great and easily offended, is almost an art form. It is fantastically challenging and something that is learned… most of the time the hard way. Not that we will avoid the truth but our goal is not to offend.
Personally, I have tried so many different ways to speak to others trying and trying to help them see but none of them seem to be able to work. Some will not hear anything and become angry, others will “agree” but do nothing, and others will hear a little and change a little but not enough to even come close to moving towards Life.
Please know, FEW are called to speak with words to teach… most are called to teach with our actions.
But yes, we are called to speak… but it will always be spairingly… and never to build ourselves up, but rather to enlighten everyone (to our sinfulness and need to change) and to guide, those WHO WANT TO HEAR to Life… to follow the saints to Christ. This enlightnment and guidance is different for everyone. It is never pestering someone who doens’t have ears to hear. They need grace, not more words. After you seek more grace for them, you can try speaking again, but if the same blindness exists… return to silence.
Please know, God calls everyone to Him in different ways… even using our sin. Some will hear through one means and for others it will be something completely different. What God has done for one of us to move us a little in our faith, might be completely wrong for another.
We might think what we are doing is great, since we have improved a lot. But we might not have moved enough in our faith and are still stuck in a life of sin. But from not seeing our problems, from our blindness, we try to lead others to our improved life, but it is really still a life of misery, on the path to death. That is why we desperately need to LEARN THE WAY correctly before we try to enlighten or teach anyone. Our darkness must leave first.
“Let them alone [don’t pay attention to them]; they are blind guides (of the blind). If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14).
So, until we learn correctly The Way–that means we are truly becoming like Christ… a real self-sacrificing saint–we need to remain silent. Our words and misguidance will only hurt others and lead them further on the path of death.
We just need to try to enlighten others to their need to repent and change for the salvation of their soul, that is if we understand the basic requirements of salvation. And leave the teaching (if someone wants help) to only directing others to The Word (interpertreted by the saint), the Cathechism and books written by the saints, who we know for sure correctly know The Way to Heaven.
The Patience of God
Oh, but there is more to God’s love. As we know, Jesus has done and continues to do so much for us… trying to help and teach us in our lives to show us The Way to Heaven despite our constant unfathomable injury we inflict upon Him from our failure to change. Yes, God is VERY PATIENT with us.
“He is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to [true] repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Therefore, we need to be unfathomably patient and understanding of anyone we wish to love (enlighten and teach), just like Christ is unfathomably patient and understanding with us.
Please know, if God does become angry towards us when we sin, it is to help move us to change for our salvation. Everything God does is to love the Father and help save His children from eternal suffering. We need to change why we do what we do and make it ALL to love the Father (doing His will), working/suffering to help people in their earthly lives but most importantly, doing everything for the benefit of another: to help save His children from eternal suffering. Yes, we must work hard, giving up our everything (our self-loving will), to help bring others into a saving faith.
But on top of that, there is more to God’s love. In return for our sinfulness, not only does He try to enlighten and teach us, He even grows closer to us, and SENDS US HELPING GRACE, to assist us in being able to see and change. He also helps us with worldly things that are important to us that have nothing to do with the salvation of souls, hoping through us experiencing His love, we will finally hear Him correctly, accept enough of His grace to change, so He can lead us to Life (a saving faith).
So, if we want to love like Jesus, we need to desire to emulate Christ by being patient with the sins of others, tolerating them, as we enlighten and teach them (through our example… sometimes our words/after we correctly learn The Way), helping them in their earthly live and working to SEND THEM GRACE, through our prayers, fasts and offering up our work and suffering for them, so God can help save their souls–help bring them to TRUE repentance. This is true love.
As we know God and the saints, who are correctly loving and forgiving and following Christ, didn’t just think about how poor souls are dying–perishing into Hell forever away from their Lord, who loves them so greatly and wants them in Heaven, and do nothing but watch them go off to suffer from their sins for eternity. No. God and the saints took action and actually gave their ENTIRE LIVES to help with the salvation of souls. This is true love.
But we as Christians, most are so lost, we just want to spend our time trying to making others feel good and smile as if that helps save our souls.
This sacrificial love of giving up one’s life–leaving all our self-loving pursuits and worldly pleasures we desire, so we can do God’s will, CHOOSE AND CARRY THE CROSS (according to God’s will)–to help send grace for the salvation of others is the kind of love we need to show towards everyone, especially our friends: the sinners (the prostitutes and tax collectors), who want to repent and change, like Jesus has done for us.
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Yes, our Love for God and neighbor (everyone) needs to grow so great that our lives will now be spent praying, fasting, enlightening, teaching, working and suffering–actually choosing the cross and offering up the crosses we have–for the salvation of other’s souls like Christ and the saints, who gave their entire lives for this goal, have done before us. This is how we REALLY love like Jesus.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. ” (John 13:34).
Please know, loving someone, who has done a horrible thing to us or is constantly hurting us doesn’t make us weak nor does it condone the sin. Loving someone, who does wrong, makes us like Christ, who is strong in love, who hates our sins, and is willing to suffer, so to unconditionally love us and help save our souls from the eternal punishment we deserve.
We hear it said that Jesus loves us… which is true. But He does not love our sinfulness. He does not love our sinful dispositions. He does not love our lack of love for others or any wrong we do. Please don’t be deceived into thinking God loves us just the way we are… well sure, He loves the sinner, but NOT THE SIN. “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness” (Psalm 5:4).
Our Lord is not okay with all that rejects Him, with all that ruins our lives. But regardless of what we do… no matter how terribly we treat Him, He won’t reject us; He won’t treat us poorly. He loves us and wants to help us change, so we can have a life of peace and salvation for our souls. Frankly, the more sinful we are the more He pines for our return. This is the foundation of how we love like Jesus.
“I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live” (Ezekiel 33:11).
If we feel horrible about all of the sin that dwells within us and others, we should. We must view sin, like Christ views sin. He hates it. Christians should not be happy with wrongs that are being done. It should crush our heart to see so many souls dying rejecting God for sin. This horror for sin, should lead us to dedicate our lives to helping others leave their life of sin, not to building others up pretending like it is okay to sin, since we find our happiness in loving ourselves and not God, pretending like we are good, when we are nothing but sin. To learn more please read, “Our Nothingness.” It simply is not okay to commit a single offence against God. Please don’t be deceived.
Plus, being a Christian doesn’t mean we don’t seek justice, when justice is called for. Consequences for our actions are most necessary for the conversion of the sinner and the protection of the innocent. But if we have to seek justice, we won’t be doing it from a heart of pride or revenge or anger towards the sinner (just the sin). We will seek justice from love, seeking what is best to help with the conversion of the sinner’s soul and the help of the innocent, so they can grow into a saving faith.
As Christians we are supposed to be the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), showing everyone what TRUE love is, but the evil one has deceived us so greatly, we have actually forgotten what a real Christianity is. Oh, we love God (to a certain extent), we want to do good (to a certain extent), but we need to want to be a TRUE Christian, who LIVES TO SAVE SOULS–ALL SOULS–BY WAY OF THE CROSS, who lives the fullness of the faith… truly doing God’s will.
But sadly, we simply don’t love God nor His children enough to deny ourselves of what we want: our will, pleasure, comfort, convenience, our lifestyle… and all sorts of self-loving things we do an have, so we can give our lives to the cross–to suffering and sacrificing–like Jesus and the saints have done–to help save sinners.
We have been horribly deceived and only give part of our lives to God and the rest to loving ourselves. Horribly, we simply don’t know how to love and follow Jesus. It is tragic!
“If any want to become my followers [to Heaven], let them deny themselves [of our self-loving will] and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23).
Please know, living a life being loved and cared for–self-seeking–was not what God sought. He also didn’t walk around moping, hating His life, wanting to change everything, since people around Him were always doing wrong to Him. Yet, this is what we do.
We desperately need to learn how to deny ourselves of what we want and begin living for the good of another.
But we want so badly to be treated the way we want; we are so far from loving like Christ. Some of us never get over other’s offences against us, and we cling to resentment. We see this clearly, when we greatly lack peace when we are around our offender or think of them. Our minds become focused on negative. Someone could have given us years and years of love and care, but if they do something wrong that really hurts us or they begin “bugging us” by their imperfections. We are done. We are intolerant of them.
We don’t let go of their injury. What would be a small problem if it was done by another, is a huge issue as our unforgiveness compiles and complies. Then we explode. We aren’t loving and forgiving them, carrying our crosses, offering them up for the salvation of their soul, trying to save them. No. We are focused on ourselves. We are sick and tired of them and their treatment of us. We live hating the cross and living in self-pity for having to deal with them.
Most of what they do or say, we see error, as we focus on our greatness and what a disaster they are. We are such broken souls… living in horrible self-love. Many have become an enormity of pride thinking the other guy is the one with the problem, and sure the other guy has their issues, but boy oh boy, God most likely thinks our gross lack of love from our great self-love is worse. Please don’t be deceived.
Love the Cross
Regardless of what horrible things we do and have done, Jesus wants us saved. Jesus lived a life on earth seeking to save our souls and HAPPILY boar whatever crosses that were given to Him to help us do that.
So if we are to love like Him, we must stop complaining and bear our crosses for the love of God (which are meant to humble and purify us) and for the salvation of souls. To learn more please read, “How Can I Be a True Follower of Christ?”
Oh, we have a long way to go before our hearts will sincerely have such a great love for God and His children. We hardly do anything for the love of God… we have almost no concern about our or other’s salvation. Obtaining a saving faith is never spoken about. We live so deceived. What is most important in life isn’t a concern. Most presume we are saved; when Christ and the saints say most are dying.
“Narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14).
But now it the time to wake up, embrace God’s grace and get off the broad road that leads to destruction and start to walk on the true narrow path to Life. For, we are far from spending our moments picking up our crosses or looking for crosses we can carry to help another… like the saints have done. We need Mercy and in a big way to change us.
Look at St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Her family spent their life seeking The Cross in their everyday lives. Her mother, St. Marie-Azélie-Guérin Martin, gave her beads to help motivate her to accept, find and carry crosses so to love God and His children. (To obtain similar beads, “Piacular Beads”, visit www.LiftingOurValues.com).
“'[Marie said in a letter] Even [little] Therese wants to start making sacrifices now.’ Marie [my mother] has given each of the little ones a chaplets [string of beads] on which they can keep count of their good deeds [not to grow proud, but to motivate ourselves to love God]…’the most charming thing of all is to see Therese slip her hand into her pocket time and time again and move a bead along as she makes some sacrifice.”
–St. Marie Martin (Story of a Soul by St. Theresa of Lisieux, Ch. 1)
Sadly, we don’t do this. No; we look for ways we can relax and play (far beyond our basic needs) and seek to live the “good” life. Oh, we are not real Christians at all. Where are our prayers, fasts and sacrifices for the souls who are dying? We are living for ourselves and this world… yes, WHERE ARE OUR SACRIFICES FOR SOULS?
“Pray, pray [humble prayers] very much, and make sacrifices for sinners [ourselves included]; for many souls go to Hell because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.”
–Our Lady of Fatima
Sadly, we have pretty much ignored the saints and their call to conversion and if we do pray, we pray from hearts that are proud: presuming we are saved… not even realizing our own misery… not seeking Our Savior to save us.
We have become lovers of pleasure… when we should be sacrificing the pleasure to love God and save our neighbor.
“There will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:1 & 4)
Don’t Understand Our Faith
Tragically, even if we have some kind of concern for another’s salvation, like for people who have left the faith or are not part of the faith, sadly most just think if we come back or join the Church, we are now automatically saved… as if that is enough faith to accept God’s forgiving mercy, even though they are still drowning in unrepentant/unchanged sins. Oh, we are so deceived!
Yes, as mentioned before, even if someone does become “faithful”, we don’t even know what kind of faith anyone needs to have–to grow into–so we can accept God’s forgiveness. From our ignorance, we could never even teach anyone The Way to Heaven correctly, for we don’t know it ourselves. We lived so deceived. We must seek Mercy to help us. We need to learn The Way. To learn more please read, “What are the Requirements of Salvation?”
“We shall find out at the day of judgment that the greater number of Christians who are lost were damned because [despite their frequent attendance at church and their studies about their religion] they did not know their own religion.”
–St. John Vianney (Sermons of the Cure De Ars, The Word of God)
Therefore, we need to greatly seek Mercy to purify the light that is in us… to humble us and correctly teach us The Way. For when darkness is really our light, we might want to help and even give all sorts of guidance to others, but when our actions and words are coming from our pride and not God’s grace, we will only be guiding souls to their doom… for we can’t see what we are doing wrong.
“If the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be” (Matthew 6:23).
Sadly, the devil has blinded us and made much of our light darkness. Instead of Christians focusing on doing God’s will by way of the cross, the devil has diminished Christians into just striving to be “kind” to another.
Some of us even live to be kind, and of course that is good, but we are deceived as to what true kindness really is. We think it is just helping people with their earthly needs. But Christianity–true charity–as we now know, is so much more than that… even plenty of atheists are “kind” towards others too.. that is not true love (true kindness).
Tragically, even in our struggle to be “kind”–like the world is kind–most fail miserably at being loving towards those who are not kind to us… and many of us even struggle to show kindness towards people who are good to us. For how many of us live quite self-absorbed and are only focused on gaining for ourselves, especially if we see others doing better than we are (yes, our jealousies horribly taint our actions).
As we can easily see, the world certainly needs people to be kind to one another. But not just being “kind” like the world is kind. We, Christians, must be the Light. We must bear witness as to what love of others really is and happily bear crosses to help God’s children obtain eternal life.
Ours or our neighbor’s eternity can begin at any moment and to neglect in helping to move them into a saving faith, is the greatest tragedy of all. That is far from kind… far from loving like Jesus.
We can spend our time trying to save all of the babies, stop all the wars, and end all hunger and violence, which are good things, but if we don’t do those with the love of Jesus… they are in vain. NOTHING!
“If I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind [to the sinner]. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous [thinking we are better than the sinner], it is not inflated, it is not rude [to the sinner], it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things [to love God, for the salvation of souls]” (1 Corinthians 13:1-7).
It is true “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26), but it is also true faith without works, without the fruits of Christ–the Love of Jesus–is dead too. Because if we don’t have Love… real love… the love of Jesus, nothing we do matters.
If after all of the “good works” we do, if we still don’t know how to obtain a saving faith and reject God for sin when we die, losing it all, what does any of our “good works” matter? If we didn’t even try to save those we are helping, did we really love and do good for anyone?
Our priorities need to change… every good work Christ did was to help bring us into a saving faith. We need to become truly kind and do ALL with the same goal as Christ… to save souls. Then how and why we do all of our “good” works will greatly change. Then we will really being to be kind and help with the salvation of souls.
Please know, living for the salvation of souls by Way of the Cross is what separates real Christians from “kind” atheists or blind Christians, who like to “help” others and to do “good” too. Self-sacrificial kindness of Christ is what we need to have towards even the worst of people. This is how we love.
“The message of the cross [choosing what we don’t want and loving to suffer] is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it [the grace it sends] is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
The World is Falling Apart
The reason the world is a disaster is our own fault. It is not the leaders, it is our own fault. We “the Body of Christ” are supposed to be the supporting assistance to the leaders of the Church and the world… God wants to send grace to them through us.
The people of the world don’t correctly live the faith and are dying because we are not enlightening souls, nor are we correctly TEACHING The Way to Heaven (by our words or actions). Plus, we are not praying, fasting or sacrificing for them. We are not deny ourselves of what we want so to SUFFER FOR ONE ANOTHER, especially not for the sinner–like Christ has done for us. Yet, this is exactly what true Christian do.
Sadly, we want to live a life of fun with family and friends, hobbies and sports, relaxation and entertainment, food and sex, success and accomplishments, complements and approvals… and so much more. This is what we really love. We don’t love the cross. We aren’t dreaming of that. We can lie and say we don’t love the world… but we prove the truth by our actions.
Did we intentionally buy less of a car than we can afford… the car of a person with a low income, not because we are cheap, but to not live a pride filled life of indulgence… offering up our sacrifice for the love of God and salvation of souls? Do we choose less with everything… our house, clothes, things, food, etc. for the salvation of souls… obtaining just what we need. Or do we live for ourselves, focusing on getting all we desire to satisfy our wants, since we are living for this world.
No matter how much we attend Church and do good works, if we don’t want to give up our pleasures to love God and help save another’s life, we are not correctly living the faith. We don’t really love God and His children for we are not will to leave all we love in the world to love (help save) those dying. Horribly, our happiness is found in living for this world… not in TRULY loving God or others. Please don’t be deceived.
“Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
From our neglect to correctly live the faith, the grace God wanted to send to others from our sacrifice of love, that would have helped God’s children know good from evil, right from wrong, and have the strength to choose and live it, has never occurred and now the world is falling apart.
Oh, we have so little grace; we have been so deceived and blinded to The Way for so long. Most only want to say things that will make others happy and keep the peace. But God didn’t come to bring peace but division.
“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided… father against son… mother against daughter… mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53).
Yes, as we strive to love others… to awaken others to their need to repent and change, some will hate us, some will love us, some will have ears that can hear and others simply won’t be able to.
When Our Lord came, with a heart of great love, to awaken souls to their sinfulness and the need to repent and change or they will perish, for the salvation of their souls, not everyone received Him with great joy. The greatly proud interpreted what He was doing as sinful. They rejected Him and felt threatened by Him. So, when we grow in faith, and begin to live it becoming a saint and we love–truly love–like Jesus, this will happen too.
But regardless of how God was treated, He still loved and preached, so He could deliver “fear of the Lord… [the] hatred of evil” (Proverbs 8:13) to those who have ears that can hear. He didn’t force The Truth upon those who couldn’t hear–didn’t want to hear–but He was there for those who could. Therefore, if we want to love like Christ, we need to love boldly like Christ truly caring for the salvation of others… even if we are despised, belittled and made out to be sinful (have many crosses to bear). This is true love.
If we gain knowledge of The Truth and don’t love someone enough to enlighten them (by our words or actions) to the fact that they are dying and guide the lost away from the sins that are killing them (according to God’s will), so they can truly come to love God, we will be held accountable.
But today, since we are suffering from such blindness, if we do say something trying to enlighten someone to their wrongdoing, there is a great chance it is wrong, since most don’t have the wisdom to correctly know The Truth (what is truly good). And sadly, if we do speak, it is not from a heart that truly cares about the other’s salvation; it is from some other less important reason or fully driven from our pride. Therefore, before we become disciples, we need grace and a lot of it to give us correct knowledge and truly loving hearts, so when we do seek to love, it can be truly good.
Do God’s Will
To sum up all of God’s love, it can be brought into one phrase: doing God’s will. That is what loving like Jesus is. It is doing the will of God.
Therefore, if we really want to love like Jesus, we need to put our entire heart on The Father, like Jesus did. Jesus loved The Father so much, He only sought His will. Since The Father wanted to save us from death, that is what Jesus sought.
Our Lord didn’t spend His days trying to think of what fun things He could do while He spent His time on earth… trying to fill His time with what He wanted (enjoyed). Everything Jesus did was what The Father wanted of Him.
He didn’t want to break a single command of the Father and lived for His Father’s will perfectly. If we want to love like Jesus, we need have the same goals… and become a true perfect servant. We might not be able to obtain them as perfectly as Jesus, but if we are truly to follow Christ our goals need to be the same, so we can grow and grow closer to His image with the help of His grace.
We need to learn how to detach ourselves from our selfish desires and make our entire being long only for what God wants… not the conversations of others, not doing things the way we like, not eating the foods we want to eat. Jesus’s Heart didn’t want anything but what God wanted, which was to do everything for the benefit of His children… everything as a sacrifice. Therefore, we need to seek Mercy to give us grace so our hearts can be transformed into hearts like Jesus.
Yes, we have to change so much if we are to become truly loving like Christ–a true disciple– that lives to reject the world and its pleasures that are pulling our heart off of God and His will, so we can bear the healing saving cross of Christ for the salvation of souls. Yes, we need to grow in love with Christ and His cross, so we can rejoice in our sufferings so to help save others.
“I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake [so God can use it to send grace to help save you]” (Colossians 1:24).
This is what Jesus showed us is true love and this is where true happiness comes from (truly loving God and saving the lives of His children).
Therefore, if we want to love like Jesus, our mind needs to become focused on praying, teaching, working and suffering like Christ, doing God’s will, so to love God and send grace to help move His children into a saving faith. We need to destroy the evil one’s deceptions that live in us and begin to live the true faith that saves, since we believe in the power of God’s grace that comes through the cross of Christ.
When we are correctly living the faith and really have this true love and forgiveness of God in us (His Saving Grace/His Spirit) and it is not just a lie we tell ourselves, so we can pretend like we are good people that forgive, that love and forgiveness leads to peace and happiness in our hearts towards our offender, no matter what horrible crime was committed.
“We are justified by faith [we have a saving faith], we have peace” (Romans 5:1).
Yes, God’s saving Spirit (Sanctifying Grace), when we truly have accepted it and are constantly living with it within us (have a saving faith), it brings PEACE. “My peace I give you” (John 14:27). Now, of course, there are other qualities we will possess too if we are living with a saving faith–frankly we can’t be lacking in ANY virtue (repeatedly living in/not leaving any sin). Please don’t be deceived.
“So, this woman who appears so humble, so mortified [detached of sin, pleasure and her will], so attached to prayer, so generous toward the poor, so zealous for the salvation of her neighbor, if she is at the same time, either not very submissive to her husband [proud] or not very reserved in judging and in speaking of the behavior of others [makes rash judgements and gossips], not only does she lack discretion [is not able to make right choices] and obedience, but without making a rash judgement, one might say that she has neither [true] humility, nor mortification, nor union with God [a saving faith], nor zeal, nor genuine charity [love]; and if she is not herself of this opinion [and is still blind to who she really is], she most certainly is fooling herself.”
–St. Claude La Colombiere (Sermon, One Should Serve Only One Master)
Yet I tell you, once we obtain a good amount of God’s love and mercy in us, even before we have a saving faith, we will be living a life in peace, no matter the circumstance. This is most certainly one of the virtues we will have when we are saved. Therefore, if we don’t have this peace… that is clear proof, we don’t have a saving faith and need to seek Mercy to help us remove the sin that is leading to our lack of peace.
There are many reasons we can lack peace, all which (unless it is contrition for our offences against God), and they are a repeated problem for us, prove we lack sanctifying grace in us.
If one of the reasons, we lack peace is because we are not TRULY forgiving and loving like Christ that is because our hearts are focused on ourselves–living in self-love… wanting others to treat us well… not on picking up our crosses and offering such injury (mistreatment) for the salvation of others.
Anytime we live to obtain what we want and we don’t receive it, we will lack peace. A saving faith, one of peace, is detached from ourselves and attached to Our Savior. Only God and His will is what we want, so we are in peace through everything… knowing it is allow by Our Savior, who intends to use it all for our good (so to move us, who can learn and change, into a saving faith (if we still aren’t there) and then into sanctity.
If we are lacking peace and it is not because of any person that we lack forgiveness towards, but we are outside of peace, since we worry over different life events or circumstances, wanting things to go as we desire... not wanting to have any crosses (no suffering, inconveniences or challenges), that is from us not trusting in God and not wanting to pick up our crosses and grow into becoming like Christ through them. Worries and despair, prove we don't really believe in God... in all He allows (the good and the bad) as part of God's plan, as needed for our soul to help move us into a saving faith--that is if we will learn and change through them--that God intends to use for good to help save us. If we did, we would stop wanting things our way and start seeking God's will and trusting in Him with all He allows. To learn more please read, "How Can I Really Trust in Jesus?" Also, if we are lacking peace and it is because we don't like who we are or what we have done (unless our distress is contrition for offending God with our sins, then that is what we want and is great), but anything else is from our pride not accepting ourselves for who we are. When we lack peace and are full of complaints and embarrassment--feeling miserable about ourselves--from not having qualities we wish we had or from sinning or making a mistake, that is from our pride being injured. When we live for our pride--wanting success, accomplishments, and for people to like us (and alike)--and we don't obtain any one of those, we are crushed in our spirit (and not in a good way)... since it leads to living in jealously, not accepting our weaknesses and who we are. This misery is from us not being humble... not accepting and embracing ourselves for who we are: our sinfulness, imperfections and shortcomings... and needing those things to boost our pride for happiness and not God's love alone. We live self-absorbed.. not focused on loving God and helping to save souls. This lack of peace and all others Christ can heal, if we humbly and correctly seek Him and work to change. To learn more please read, "How to Find True Happiness."
Nonetheless, if we want to see our lack of love and forgiveness, so we don’t die blind loving these sins, like was mentioned before, just look at how we feel. Endless sins that are ruining our lives are right before our eyes, if we only looked into what we think.
Please don’t blindly think horrible things about others, living in self-pity or being disgusted with them after they treat us badly or we perceive them doing wrong and not pay attention to our thoughts. Our thoughts will tell all.. Then we can repent and seek Mercy for strength to not commit them again.
Also, please know not all sin is from negative thinking, endless sins come from our positive prideful thoughts too. We need to look into WHY we think anything.
And of course, our actions… our lack of loving words and behaviors that we might have will surely show us our lack of love too. For some of us, will not be strong enough to keep our unloving hearts hidden, and our words and actions will be that of malice towards those who we perceive are doing wrong… as we respond to what looks like evil or even a simple mistake with evil.
But even if we do have enough self-control to hide how we really feel from our actions, if we just look at our anger, self-pity (complaints) and lack of love, dwelling on the faults of others and tolerance of others that we have in our thoughts that we suffer from, our lack of having Christ’s love in us will become prevalent to us. Then we can seek Mercy to help us change.
Of course we don’t have to like the wrong someone does, whether it is a sin or a mistake. We shouldn’t like such things. We might need to correct the person erroring as well; but it shouldn’t move us outside of love and forgiveness.
Here is an everyday example: Let’s say someone pulls out their car in front of ours, and if we aren’t moved outside of love by the event, we can see we have loved and forgiven that person for their error, which is great. We have some of God’s love and forgiveness in us. But if we become frustrated and start thinking poorly about them, having some kind of pity for ourselves that we had to push on our brake, we know we have a problem.
But just because we can handle this simple situation doesn’t mean we have God’s saving forgiven grace in us… if God’s loving, forgiving grace (sanctifying grace) truly dwells within us, this response of love is in us for ALL circumstances. Yes, ALL that occurs no matter how horribly we are hurt, inconvicnesd or suffer, we will act with love.
Now, that isn’t to say, we can’t fall into sin and for a moment and lack love and forgiveness ever, but it will NEVER be a habitual practice (unless we are over coming a past habitual sin before we obtained a saving faith) and it will never linger in us if God’s saving loving grace truly dwells within us.
When we really possess the love of Christ in our hearts and truly have a forgiving spirit–when we are united with Christ with a saving faith–we will not respond with angry at others when they do wrong, complain about us, insult us, ignore us, cause us problems or do anything against us… even if they greatly abuse us. Our concern will be for them… wanting to help them, not for ourselves dwelling in self-pity. Then we will be truly following Jesus, who responded with love and concern for the sinner through every mistreatment He received. And we will be in peace.
Yes, when God’s grace truly comes into us, our life won’t be about ourselves anymore wanting to be treated well or having things go our way. Life will be about loving God through loving others as Christ loves us. This kind of life will result in us living in constant peace because it is our life of selfishness… that leads to our misery.
Truly, when we have accepted God’s True Heart of Love in us, we will seek to help those, who we perceive as doing wrong, in our thoughts, prayers and actions… we will have pity for the sinner and be in great peace, as we tolerate their sinfulness giving our lives to help them.
We will no longer allow the wrongs of others to hurt us, tear us down, or cause any negative effect in us, but we will joyfully carry our crosses with The Lord, offering up our suffering for our sins and the sins of the world, so the cross can make us like Christ and send grace to others for the salvation of souls… just like Christ did for us.
Yes, when our heart is with God’s love, we will truly understand the sinners (their lack of grace to do good)… and we will be genuinely kind towards them in their weakness, no matter how rude, disrespectful and abusive they are towards us. We won’t have to fake our love and kindness towards them… we will truly care... even when they misinterpret our act of love towards them as something meant to hurt them. For we won’t live to be loved but to love. Our happiness will come from The Lord… not from anyone else.
Evil Will Stop Coming Out of Us
When God’s loving and forgiving mercy finally dwells in us, our bad thoughts and/or speaking poorly about the ones we see as doing wrong to put them down and build ourselves up, will cease. We will care about them and want to help them. We will understand their brokenness and love them regardless of their treatment towards us. We won’t want to avoid them or act cold toward them. We will respond with love.
Oh, our plotting of crime in our hearts against our offender, such as thinking of ways to show them we are mad at them or trying to prove they are wrong and we are right or getting even with them… as the least of our desire to injure them in return, will leave. Our heart will want to love and help them, despite their sinfulness.
Oh, those grumpy customers that nobody wants to help, we will want to help. The family member nobody want to deal with, who has so many issues, we will understand and love. The people who don’t like us and treat us poorly, we will love them too.
Yes, when we respond to God’s mercy and have left the darkness of sin and replaced it with God’s love, we will want to help the sinner through our prayers and actions. Our anger and self-pity will be gone, when we are treated poorly. We won’t dwell on ourselves (dwell in self-love) wanting them to love us… wallowing over the “offence” we have experienced, we will act like Christ, carry our cross silently offering it up for them… and we will be in peace.
“Through the tender mercy of our God… [He will] give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace [the way to a saving faith].” (Luke 1:78-79).
This is a most needed aspect of loving like Christ… loving like a TRUE Christian. This is what Jesus does for each and every one of us daily. This is how we truly love like Christ and know we have His grace within us.
How Can I Love and Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt Me?
To genuinely love and forgive someone, who has greatly or even mildly injured us or another, is not as hard as we might think. I’m sure plenty of us might have tried to leave this sin and felt like we just couldn’t get the bad thoughts out of our mind, but there is hope. God has a plan for us to obtain any virtue we are lacking. We just need to correctly seek Him.
First, we must acknowledge we have a problem and want to change. Sadly, many refuse to see our lack of love and unforgiveness, since we hide it in the recess of our heart. But if we look for the pain and lack of peace we feel when we are around or think of another, we will see it, if we want to.
Please know, if we want to hate and/or be angry at someone (not love and forgive) and live a life of miserable self-pity, blaming others for our problems, and lacking peace, we will. Therefore, the first thing we need to do to come to truly love and forgive someone is we need to know we have a problem (that WE are doing wrong) and decide we want to change so we can do what is right.
If we only want to change and love and forgive just so we can find a life of peace in our life, then that can be the only motive we have for our actions and most of the following suggestions will still produce change that brings peace, if you are greatly motivated. But if want to TRULY love and forgive like Jesus, so we can truly love God and have real hope for Eternal Life, then we need to decide we really want to love and forgive to become a TRUE Christian.
Seeking to become a true Christian, to move from darkness to Light, is moved by Grace. So, give great thanks to God if you have even a slight desire to change… for you finally accepted some of God’s helping mercy.
From there, we need to learn how a true Christian loves and forgives (see above).
After we gain some desire to love and forgive, for us to obtain enough grace to actually implement our desires into our actions, we must seek God for a lot of grace. It is grace, working with our free will, that will change us.
There are countless ways we can obtain God’s merciful transforming help. To lean more please read, “What is God’s Mercy and How Can I Obtain It.”
But to begin to start to receive and hopefully accept some of God’s grace, from our humility (knowing we are sinners who need help), we need to start implementing the means God has sent us to obtain His helping love (grace) into our lives.
The most effective means to obtain grace is by:
- Prayer, especially reading The Word, seeking intersession through the Mother of God and participating in daily Mass,
- Fasting (to gain self-control and empty our desires to accept grace),
- Works (to grow in love),
- Sacrifices/penances (to grow in love),
- Contemplating our sinfulness and the injury to God and others that occurred from our sins (to grow in humility),
- Contemplating God’s Mercy towards the sinner (to grow in understanding of what love is),
- Frequenting the sacraments (especially confession and Communion).
These are the great means God has offered to help move us from death to Life.
However, we need to know, if our lack of love and forgiveness is a regular mortal sin to where we are injuring another either mentally by: rejecting, ignoring, gossiping, lying about them, yelling at them, or alike and/or physically by: hitting them, destroying their property, taking from them, (any form of revenge) from our lack of love and forgiveness, which is sadly what most of us do, we can not receive Holy Communion until we have confesses and stopped these sins.
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil… never avenge yourselves… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21)
Please know, malice–as revenge–towards another from our lack of living the faith, makes any sin, mortal.
“Now the works of the flesh are obvious:… strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy… and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-23).
After help from God through all of the other means to remove sin (to learn more please read, “How Can I Stop Sinning?”, especially with the sacrament of reconciliation (confession), we can receive Holy Communion to remove any lack of love and forgiveness that might be left in our thoughts (the venial part).
But if our sin moves back into our actions again as a malicious attack towards another, we need to confess and stop it all over again, before partaking in The Sacrament of Love. And this goes for all our mortal sins. Everyone must be eradicated through prayer, fasting, works, sacrifices/penances, and confession, before we can receive grace from Holy Communion.
Holy Communion only injures souls who still have a love for regular mortal sin on their souls. We must have true contrition for them all… Yes, we, must rather die that commit the mortal sin again. Our hatred for the sin must become that great.
Therefore, the first step, after we recognize we have sinned, is to HUMBLE OURSELVES and apologize to God (confess our sins) for offending Him (sinning against Him) and for hurting one of His children with our lack of love and forgiveness towards the sinner (or anyone).
Then, if it is God’s will, if it will bring us humility and is good for the one we have sinned against, since they know about the injury we have caused them and it will bring them peace, we need to apologize to the one we have offended.
It is especially important to apologize if our rejection, slandered, or anything wrong we have done to them has caused them to live outside of peace and in sin. If from our lack of love and forgiveness, perhaps they won’t go near us or seem to be harboring something against us from our wrong have or are doing to them… if they are now sinning because of us, we must apologize to them for not loving them like Christ, hoping our sincere apology (as we pray for them) can help heal their soul.
This is important since it is very grave sin to cause another to fall into sin from our own sin and not do all we can to help them leave it.
“Whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift [yourself] to the altar [to receive Jesus in Holy Communion so He can transform you into a saint], and there recall that your brother has anything against you [because of your sin against him], leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:22-25)
Therefore, nobody is worthy of receiving Holy Communion, who still rejects and harms others who hurt us… causing them injury and not do something to correct our behavior and restore peace.
After we apologize to God and the person we have offended, trying to make amends (even if they sinned against us first), the person we offended might not forgive us for our wrongs and might even completely forget about their own sin. And that is okay. We are accountable for our actions, not another’s.
We must love regardless of their response… and hopefully if they treat us poorly, we have enough grace to offer up our injury joyfully for the salvation of their soul, like true Christians do.
But if someone thinks we have sinned and are full of anger at us for a crime we didn’t commit, we don’t have anything to confess or worry about. We can try to bring peace (of course never admitting to something we didn’t do), but trying to help them understand the situation (not to defend ourselves but to help them), and if they still refuse to see and reconcile with us, and want to crucify us for a crime we are not guilty of, then praise God. We get to suffer like Jesus. All we need to do is love them with a love of Christ, offering any injury they bear towards us for the salvation of their soul.
After we confess our sin and state our desire to not commit it any longer, we need to have a plan as to what we are going to do beside just wishing we don’t commit it, so we can use our free will and God’s grace to never commit the sin again.
Therefore, we need to establish a way to implement all the ways God send us grace to assist us into our lives. We need to pray more (the goal is unceasing prayer), attend daily Mass (if possible), fast, sacrifice, meditate, and of course frequent the sacraments. Yes, we really need to do these things. We are not going to change without great effort.
On top of that, we need to MAKE RESOLUTIONS. Yes, we need to come up with ways to avoid our sins. As a rule of thumb to acquire any virtue (leave any sin), we need to do the opposite of what is leading us into the sin.
So, if we fail to do good, we need to look into WHY we failed, what led us into the sin, and come up with a plan to avoid it in the future.
As our grace builds, our ability to live the faith will improve. Over time, according to our desire to seek God’s grace and ability to accept it, Our Lord will to transform us in to a heart of TRUE love and forgiveness. Therefore, we must seek and seek grace and work hard to change if we want a heart of true love and forgiveness.
However, I do want to mention, some people want to love and forgive… and can even change to have some kind of love and forgiveness within them towards those who do wrong, even without the help of God’s grace. They do this from their own personal conviction alone. They don’t do this from reasons of faith but for reasons of self-love.
Perhaps want to stop harboring unforgiving anger, because they can see how they are letting their anger and unforgiveness eat away at their lives leaving them greatly outside of peace. So they focus on the good instead of dwelling on the bad. With their own strength and ability, they decide to love and forgive (at least in a worldly way), since it is better than holding on to poison.
But wanting to change so we can love and forgive someone simply because we want to have a life of peace–or for any other selfish reason (a reason that benefits ourselves)–cannot be the driving motive for our desire to love and forgive another if we are to truly love like Jesus. If a self-loving motive moves us, we don’t TRULY have the love of Christ in us.
Sure, that self-loving motive might be the only motive that can actually move us in the beginning of our faith. So in the beginning it is fine to have. But if we want to love and forgive like Christ and be united with Jesus (with a saving faith), our desire to love and forgive someone must become so we can LOVE GOD –to not offend Him by our sinfulness (our lack of love and forgiveness) and to do all for the good of another… for the salvation of their soul (to follow Christ). Our selfish reasons–like seeking peace–must not be what moves us. That was not what moved Christ.
Yes, the MAIN reasons we want to love and forgive someone must become so we do not sin against God, since lacking forgiveness and love are horribly offences against God who wills for us to love and forgive everyone like He loves and forgives us despite our misery AND because we want to be a true Christian and help save the souls of sinners (send grace to sinners to move them into true love for God and true contrition for their sins) through our love like Christ has done for us. Any other motive, even though we can have them, to love and forgive someone, is not in accord with Christ.
Therefore, we must decide we no longer want to live for ourselves… seeking to be treated well, seeking to make our lives better, seeking to obtain what we want but seek to love others. Anything else is self-love… and what crucified Christ.
Yes, we must PULL OUR FOCUS OFF OF OURSELVES and put our focus on wanting to LOVE GOD and OTHERS… living to help save souls–to help bring others, especially those who have injured us, into a saving faith of true love for God and true contrition for their sins.
To do this, our purpose in life needs to change.
Therefore, to obtain a heart that truly loves and forgives, like Christ, we must WANT TO:
- Love and forgive so we can find peace and happiness (this motive eventually needs to leave),
- Love and forgive so we can be forgiven and not suffer from our sins (this motive needs to become less than our desire to love and forgive so to love God–not offend Him),
- Love and forgive so to not offend God and love Him,
- Love and forgive so to become a true Christian and learn how to carry our crosses,
- Love and forgive unconditionally like Christ does for us,
- Help and do good for those who do wrong like Christ does for us,
- Work and even suffer to help the sinner obtain salvation like Christ does for us,
- Stop living for ourselves (doing what benefits ourselves) but live to love God and for the salvation of others (lose our selfish motives for living),
- Gain pity and understanding for the sinner (feel badly for their lack of grace, inability to act with love (goodness), life of sin (sadness) they suffer from, rejection of God and His love and peace for sin, inability to see their sins, unwillingness to amend their sins, doom they are headed towards and lack of understanding of what they are really doing) like Christ has for us,
- Tolerate others wrongs and even be willing to suffer ourselves from them (carry our crosses) so to love God and help lead the sinner to Life like Christ does for us,
- Gain humility and not feel we are so much better than someone else, who perhaps sinned what we see as something we would never do, but focus on our own misery (sinfulness) and not our “greatness”… for if we really knew how sinful we really are, we would never think of ourselves as “great”,
- Never give up when the sinner doesn’t seem to be changing, since Christ never gives up on us. Of course, if we do something to help them and they know about it and reject our help, we don’t force help on others. We might have to stop certain help. But we continue helping them hidden from their understanding hoping they accept God’s grace before their hour comes. (Of course we can’t continuously help everyone (offer the same effort to the entire world), but if really feel called to help a particular person, like our family, never stop just because we don’t immediately see change. For some the change won’t happen until their death, but without your help all will be lost.
After we accept enough grace from God and decided we WANT TO live all of the above, we need to continue to seek Mercy for grace to actually be able to do it. From our free will and God’s grace, we need to start praying not for grace for ourselves but for those who have sinned against us (or for anyone we don’t love for any reason) wanting God to bless them. Then we can start to love them. From there we need to contemplate their suffering from their sins (not looking at ourselves but to them) so we can gain pity for the sinner. If we don’t love and forgive them for something that isn’t a sin on their part, then we need to contemplate the consequences of our own sin.
The first grace we want to seek, after we seek God to give us a greater desire to love like Him (to not offend Him), is we need to seek God to help us to obtain a sympathetic heart that feels badly for the one sinning… not for ourselves and for all we had to suffer, but for the one lacking the grace to do good…. for the life of sin they are living in, for their rejection of God, so we can help them escape their horrible life situation (whether it is just momentary or constant), so we can love God and use our life for the salvation of souls.
Now, if we are angry and bitter towards someone who hasn’t actually “sinned (broken God’s law)” but we just don’t like what they have done. Then we need to seek Mercy to help us realize we are not God… that our will doesn’t need to be followed by others, unless we are their supervisor giving them a command. That way we can love others for who they are and allow them to be themselves doing what they feel is best and not what we demand of them.
Next, we need to look for ways we can do good for them on top of praying for them… like seeking sacrifices we can make on their behalf (crosses we can carry) so our love/cross can send grace to help them. Then we will really begin to follow Christ and God can begin to transform our heart and theirs.
As we do the above, if we are struggling, we need to focus on how sinful we are… and despite that how much God loves and forgives us, who are constantly offending Him. How regardless of what we do, He is still helping us on earth and wanting and working to help us obtain a saving faith. Therefore, if we want to be forgiven of our sins and saved, we need to grow in faith to truly love and forgive everyone for everything.
Yes, our unloving hearts that are so far from God’s grace, that only love those we like and do what we want needs to become transformed by God’s mercy. Yes, some of us are so wonderfully kind to those we like and just horrible to those we don’t. How far from being true Christains as we?
Oh, our turning our backs on others who have greatly offended us is not love and must be abolished. Only being kind to those who like us, who we see as doing good, is not love. Or doing good to others so they will like us, is not love either… it is self-love. Our concern must for others… especially the sinner… not ourselves. This is how we love God (not offend Him) and live the true Christian faith.
Yes, to be a true follower of Christ, everything we do needs to be done from love… not seeking to be loved but to love. We don’t need to be treated well; we need to treat others well. We don’t need to be understood; we need to understand. We MUST decided we want to become like Christ… if we truly believe in Him.
We must want to leave our life of self-love, complaining about every wrong someone does, how life isn’t fair, and how hard they have made our life and hurt us and run to love the sinner like Christ loves us, sinners. Yes, we MUST decide we want to follow Christ and carry our crosses for the salvation of other’s souls like Christ did and does for us, if we want to unite with Christ’s love and obtain a saving faith.
Right or Wrong… Love Heals
Now please know, when we think someone else is sinning that doesn’t necessarily mean we are correct in our judgement. Like was said earlier, we can be wrong. Some of the time, if not most of the time, our own misconceptions of reality on how we view others is quite incorrect.
Anyone who has ever successfully counceled another has seen this time and time again. One person will say someone is doing all sorts of horrible things to them, but then we hear from another quite a different story. Is the first person just out of touch with reality or both. Frankly, the one with the most blinding pride is the most out of touch, especially if they are the one being offended. But both or should I say all of us don’t see correctly. Only God knows the true meaning of the heart. We need to understand this and look humbly (know we can and do error) at all situations.
This is especially true if we are suffering from much pride and are the one who has been offended. We will most likely see part or all of a situation quite wrong. Pride greatly blinds us not only to The Truth (God) but also to the truth around us. So always keep that in mind when we or someone else is perceived as sinning. We can be seeing part or the entire situation incorrectly. To learn more please read, “What is so Wrong With Judging”.
Yet, God doesn’t call us to be right. Being wrong isn’t sinful. However, He if we are wrong because we rashly judged the situation, which is what we mostly do, that is sinful. That leads us, who don’t love and forgive like Christ, to doing wrong to others who are not even guilty of the offence we perceive them committing.
Therefore, if we don’t want to sin or find people guilty for crimes they aren’t committing, we need to make the best judgement can with the information we have, leaving out our negative thinking based on past events, and judge correctly. To learn more please see “What is So Wrong with Judging?” But regardless of guilt or not, we must seek to love and forgive those we perceive as doing wrong.
Remember, we are called to LOVE. Our main focus needs to be in loving the sinner. If from our best judgement (judgement made without sin), we think someone is guilty of a crime they didn’t commit, no harm is done to them from us. That is IF we love and forgive them like Christ loves and forgives us. Even if we have to inflict a consequence upon them–for that is the greatest good that will help lead them to Life (under our best judgement)–God desires to use that mis-judgement and unlawful punishment for the salvation of their soul. Again, that is IF they respond to the cross with peace and joy or even learn how to love the cross then they will accept God’s grace. The innocent will only be given healing grace to help them from our heart of true love and forgiveness even if we make a wrong judgement, for God’s love will be working through us.
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves [like Christ] is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without [the] love [of Christ] does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him [removing the consequences of original sin, forgiving us of our sins and helping us obtain a saving faith]. In this is love: not that we have [perfectly] loved God, but that he [perfectly] loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another [with the same love]. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another [like Christ loves us], God remains in us [we have His saving Spirit in us], and his love [if we continue to seek grace] is brought to perfection in us [we can grow into perfect love of God.. as perfect as we can in our mortal bodies if we continue to love]” (1 John 4:7-12).
What is Love?
Love… that is quite a dynamic topic. There are so many different kinds of love. Many people, of any faith, will do great things from feeling love, but are any of those kinds of love the love that should be driving us… moving us… leading our lives? Are those the love of Christ?
Sadly, most of the love we feel and experience is not the love that Christ loved us with. Most of us are driven by a love that is tainted with self-love. It has motives that are not for the love of God and the salvation of man, which is the driving intention behind God’s love. Our love is driven by many other passions instead.
However, if we want our acts of love to lead us and others towards Life, we need to change our intentions and have them become one with God’s.
“I love my spouse, kids, country, friends, job…. and will do anything for them” is a notion I think many of us can say we have had. We are willing to suffer, sacrifice comfort, and give up what we want and even our lives to help the ones we love. But is that the kind of love that Christ had and has for us?
Of course Jesus sacrificed His everything for us, but WHY did He give up His everything for us? Was it to protect our homes, to provide us a good living for the ones we love, to see that we are happy? WHY did Jesus do what He did? It was to obey The Father and help everyone believe in Him with a saving faith (to help save our souls)!
“I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me… For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him [with a saving faith] may have eternal life” (John 6:38-40).
But that is NOT the reason why we are willing to give our everything for another. We have so many other reasons. Therefore, the love we have is not the same as Christ’s. Our mind set is not focused on doing The Father’s will and helping others save their souls through whatever we are doing… helping them to obtain true belief in Christ: true love for God and true contrition for their sins.
Most of the reasons we love are also conditional. If our spouse, kids, country, friends or job does us wrong… we are done… at least until they do something to make up for it. Oh, we will reciprocate love but if we keep on giving and we aren’t getting love in return, we grow tired and stop loving. Fortunately, God doesn’t do that to us.
Oh, we are not like Christ at all, who continues to love and love and love us as we beat him over and over and over again. Oh, He keeps on loving because He isn’t living to be loved but to love. He doesn’t need to be treated well, He seeks to treat us well. He isn’t trying to be treated fairly living for Himself, but is sacrificing His everything seeking OUR SALVATION.
Why do we think marriages fail? We are loving for all the wrong reasons. We are not living like true Christian… doing all to LOVE GOD (obey Him) and to help save the soul of the one we are married to, carrying all crosses with joy offering them up for the salvation of our spouse. We are living for ourselves and our happiness with the world.
But love… true love seeks the good of another no matter what… “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things [for the salvation of another… like Christ did and does for us]” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Christ’s Love is Not Pretty
What a gruesome sight! And this is love.
Do we really understand what Christ’s love is? No. The fullness of this love is a mystery.
However, to help us understand, God showed us perfect love by His example. But the evil one has been busy confusing us as to what this really is, so we can think we are actually loving others, when our love is far from true.
“Do you see this cross, these thorns, these nails, these bruises, these tears, these wounds, this blood? They are all works of love and of infinite love. Do you see how much I [Jesus] have loved you? Do you really want to love me? Then first learn to suffer. It is by suffering the one learns to love.”
–Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani
Even when we have a most clear example before us, sadly, most will still never love like Christ, but rather love like the world.
Hopefully after reading this article, we will have a better understanding of the different kinds of love:
- perfect love: a love that is no longer able to injure/offend,
- true love: (a saving faith) a self-less love; the kind of love we want to have for all people,
- real love: a love that desires to become true but still has some selfishness ,
- appreciative love: a love derived from a desire to return love for love given,
- ownership love: a love that will tolerate others imperfection because of a relationship/bond with another,
- selfish love: a love that loves to be loved or to get what we want in return,
- sensual love: a love derived from an attraction,
- false love: a love we declare or feel but return with malice.
Then we will have a better understanding of what we should be seeking and removing, so one day we can love God perfectly and offend Him no more.
But look at the image above…oh, do we really want to learn how to perfectly love God? It isn’t about complements, hugs, kisses and pain free days. No, it is about the cross. So, if we want to perfectly love God, we need to be willing to suffer just like Jesus did for the salvation of souls. This is the example Christ gave us of perfect love. This is what we must follow.
Are we ready?
“I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15).
Wonderfully to learn how to perfectly love God, Jesus left Heaven to teach us. And what did Christ do? Christ followed the Father’s will perfectly, so to perfectly love Him, and the Father’s will was for Christ to SAVE SOULS.
That is how we love God, by working with all of our hearts for the salvation of others: to teach and send grace to convert the hearts of man into true belief in Christ. To learn more please read, “What are the Requirements of Salvation?”
How to Love Like Christ
Loving like Christ is full of:
- obedience to the Father (no sin, doing His will)
- unconditional love of His children (no matter what sins they commit)
- self-less giving and suffering so to love the Father and save souls (penance/self-denial)
We can’t love like Christ and save souls, if we are riddled with sin…sin reject’s God’s grace making our efforts to send grace (help) to our neighbor less effective.
And of course, since even the slightest sin is such a horrible violation of love against Perfect Goodness (God), we can’t perfectly or even truly love Christ, if we aren’t even striving to stop offending Him. Being complacent with any sin no matter how small, is a great act of hate against God…not love, but hate.
And one of the greatest sins we commit is not working hard to save souls. This is the entire purpose of being a Christian…to lead others into salvation–a saving faith. But tragically most don’t even know what this is. So learning how to save souls is imperative.
Therefore, working and working hard to “sin no more” is the most basic foundation one must have if we are ever going to perfectly love Christ. So, we must be working to become a true self-sacrificing saint: someone who wants to perfectly love God by doing His will and is willing to suffer so to never offend Him again and save souls.
But sin–all the things we want to avoid so to love God–is much more involved than most understand. Most think of sinning as just lying, stealing, cheating, or perhaps being impatient, etc. Yet that is far from the fullness of what is truly sinful.
Frankly, sin is so dynamic, it would take a book to fully define what is actually sinful. But in short: a sin is anything that we think, speak or do that isn’t to better know, love or serve God. It is what we do for self-love…not for God. Sin is doing anything that Christ wouldn’t do and sin is also neglecting to do something Christ would do.
And yikes, there are a lot of things that fall into those categories! Yes, every wrongful priority we have, every self-indulgent thing we partake in….oh, it is all sin (something that doesn’t love like Christ–something that doesn’t help to save souls).
Tragically, even with our limited knowledge of what offends God, most people put forth little if any effort into stopping the sins we can see…either because we think we are “holy” from all of our prayers and works and/or because we simply don’t have concern over our offences against God, which is a very grave mistake to make, since the only thing that causes us to not love God is our sins.
We can pray all the prayers in the world and not have a single word be received with love into God’s heart because we are praying them with hearts of love for sin, since we aren’t working hard to stop offending God and become true saints. Therefore, sadly our prayers are abominations of love. And because of that, we aren’t gaining virtue (qualities of Christ) nor loving how Christ loves.
Therefore, we have a lot to change if we want to pursue the goal of perfectly loving God. But with the help of God we can.
“Whoever has my commandments [in his heart] and observes them is the one who loves me.” (John 14:21)
How Does Christ Unconditionally Love Us?
God loves us unconditionally, which means that no matter what we do God will still love us. Therefore, we can’t perfectly love Christ if we aren’t loving others like Christ loves us. But boy do we have a hard time loving those who have done wrong against us. Oh, we get divorced, reject, ignore, treat poorly, and harbor bitter thoughts towards so many focusing on their “sins” and not how we can love them (help save their soul). Yes, most of us greatly lack understanding and mercy towards the sinful soul.
But even if we can move past the wrongs done to us, many think all God asks of us is for us to truly forgive others…but that isn’t all. If we really want to follow Christ, we must not only forgive (have only peace in our heart towards our offender) but LOVE them…but we can’t love them like the world loves…by trying to make them happy. No, we must love like Christ loves…and work hard to save/sanctify their soul by:
- understanding their weaknesses,
- preaching…by our actions and words (when God wills),
- sacrificing and
- suffering for them…like Christ did for us.
Honestly, how can we love God, if we can’t love our brother (other children of God)? It would be like saying I love God but I hate His children. Doesn’t Christ dwell in all of His children; doesn’t Christ love everyone no matter who they are or what they have done and want them saved?
“For whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)
Therefore, if we are to follow Christ to learn how to perfectly love God and of course to obtain a saving faith, we must seek Mercy to teach us how to love His children, especially when they sin against us, just like He loves us.
For example: A man goes out and randomly shoots many innocent men, women and children…killing the loved ones of many. Does God love this man? Of course. God loves us ALL unconditionally (no matter what horrible sins we commit.)
Even with this person, who is greatly sinning, God is crying out to Him…telling Him that He loves Him.
Surely, God isn’t loving this person so He will continue to offend Him and harm His children. No. That isn’t what true love does. God doesn’t love our sins. He hates our sins. He doesn’t want us to stay in our trespasses. But, rather God understands this mans weakness (lack of grace) and is showing him His love, so he can see how greatly he doesn’t deserve His love (because of His great sinfulness)…so from experiencing such fantastic love, he will seek Mercy for help to CHANGE…to come to truly hate this sins and grow into a saint so to one day perfectly love Him in return (never offend Him again) for the salvation of his soul.
Yes, God loves us unconditionally, not so we can pretend like sinning is ok and continue to sin without guilt…we are guilty, we have sinned, but so we can see God’s unfathomable love and want to repent and change and so we can gain a heart of true hatred for sins…a heart that would rather suffer death than offend God again, so we can embrace His saving forgiving mercy for the salvation of our souls. No matter what we do, God seeks to bring us to Heaven…if we want Him to.
But do we love like Christ? Do we unconditionally love others even when they offend us? Are we focused on another’s salvation? Or are we self-focused…complaining and dwelling in self pity for being wronged? Wanting others to treat us well. Oh, how little we love like Christ.
When someone does something wrong against us or others, are we praying for them, thinking of how we can help to save them–help to convert their heart into one of true hatred and contrition for their sins? Or are we, who are great sinners ourselves, offended, criticizing them, rejecting them…and gaining a great disdain for them?
We who are great sinners ourselves have no right to become offended at the tresspasses against us? Don’t we diserve any ill treatment as a penance for our sins? Did we forget our misery? Where is our understanding?
Or do we, from our own lack of grace, not understand the sinners lack of grace and need for it? Who are we concerned about…loving God and saving souls or ourselves (wanting nice treatment)? Do we really want to help/love those who sin or those who even make mistakes (tolerate others imperfections)?
Or are we still frustrated with the imperfections of others…like with the mistakes others make? Where is our heart of love and understanding? Oh, what little love and tolerance we have for others wrongs. Yet, we expect others to have mercy on us, when we error, but we show such little mercy towards others when they faith, since we aren’t focused on our misery…but on our greatness and the others weakness. But we are all weak and in need of mercy. To love like Christ, we must humble ourselves…and sincerely care about others and want to save them.
“For the judgment [of our souls] is merciless to one who has not shown mercy” (James 2:13).
If we only knew and focused on how sinful and imperfect we are, this wouldn’t be such a problem for us. But most are blind to ourselves and focused on others.
Yes, for most of us, our love is far from that of Christ’s and our entire mind frame needs to change, if we are going to ever love God perfectly, since we have a very hard time over looking others sins and imperfections and focusing on how to understand and save them (love them).
Even if we can over look others sins, it isn’t so we can bring them to a saving faith but for some worldly reason (not with the same intention of Christ). Most are simply not focused on everyone’s eternal happiness. Most haven’t even contemplated our need to obtain a saving faith.
The devil has deceived us so greatly that even if we know we need one, we have allowed other concerns to supersede the greatest concern of our lives. Therefore, if we are to perfectly love God, we need to love others just like He loved us and do everything for the salvation of another…that is true love.
Love By Suffering
Every thought Christ contemplated was to help us…He wasn’t self-concerned.
Every word Christ spoke was to help us…He wasn’t self-concerned.
Every deed Christ did was to help us…He wasn’t self-concerned.
This is how we will come to perfectly love God, by doing EVERYTHING to love another (save another’s soul)…losing ALL of our self love.
Someone, who is truly seeking sanctity, who truly desires to perfectly love God, strives to do nothing to make themselves happy, but fulfill God’s will and help save another’s soul. They aren’t self-concerned and live for the cross
They seek food, not to eat a yummy meal because their flesh is craving it from self-love. But they reject that temptation and eat bland things only to nourish their bodies to serve God. They want the cross so from emulating Christ through their self-denial and love of neighbor, God can send grace for the salvation of another.
When someone is truly striving to love like Christ, they don’t speak to win friends, to have attention, to make others “happy” (unless it will really help to move them towards a saving faith). They only speak when necessary and only what will TRULY help another…always with the end goal of being another’s salvation. They prefer to be talking with God, praying for the salvation of souls, rather than talking to man.
We need to learn how to become self-less too if we want to perfectly love God, by putting our focus on loving God, which is done through loving our neighbor…not loving how the world loves…as the world tries to make everyone “happy” but loving how Christ loves by seeking to do God’s will for the salvation of souls.
Yes, to come to perfectly love God, we must come to completely reject ourselves, our wants and dreams and only want what is God’s will, and that is for God to use us–according to His plan–for the salvation of souls, by way of the cross.
Oh, we will find great crosses we can carry for our neighbor in bounds of places in our lives, if we just look. To learn more please read, “How to Love the Cross.”
Why Am I So Easily Frustrated, Angered or Upset?
The more we live to be loved or to obtain what we want–the more self-loving desires we have– the more easily we are hurt by the wrongs of others (or even what we perceive as a wrong of another) or even bothered when things don’t go our way… for we are living for OUR WILL.
Some people can suffer from wanting to be loved, accepted, approved so greatly, we can even allow bad things that occur in life to crush our spirit… We are so addicted to others or
Many of us will have things go greatly wrong in our lives and suffer great crosses, but instead of allowing those crosses to conform us into the image of Christ, we don’t grow in virtue but in vice. We become more self-absorbed, with more complaints, worries, anexities, anger or despair… allowing the healing cross to crush us. Yes, the crosses we are allowed to bear, don’t cause us to turn us towards Christ for help to carry them so we can become like Him (offering up our suffering for the sins of the world… so to send grace to help others, living in peace through our suffering. No, we live self-absorbed, not accepting God’s will, wishing what occurred never happened, hating the cross of Christ… and not becomng saved throug it.