GRIEF: Reconciliation with Others: From Loathing to Loving

Now, another part of grieving is understanding that grieving will look different for everyone. For me, grieving looked like committing myself fully to all I’m involved in, and for my sister, similarly, it looked like committing herself fully to her school work. For my mother, grieving looked like recommunicating with an old friend and developing a new ministry at church. Thus, for all it looks like getting adjusted to a new normal, which includes a new person.

Now there are many scriptures that discuss love. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God…Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Additionally, I’m sure you could name a plethora of verses that discuss the importance of loving others; nevertheless, love is not always easy. Although it is oftentimes easy to love our friends and family members and those we like, it can be difficult to love those we loathe and dislike, especially those who have hurt us or harmed us in any way, even if it is only a perceived harm.

As Christians we preach love often, but we don’t discuss how difficult it can be to love at times. Think about how difficult it is to love someone who has abused you. Think about how difficult it is to love someone who has murdered one of your family members. Think about how difficult it can be to love someone who has caused you harm in any way whether physical, emotional, psychological, financial, etc. It is not easy to love, yet God requires it of us. In fact, loving others may be the most difficult thing God asks of us.

Yet, our struggles to love are not unique. In fact, I know there were people in the Bible who like us, probably struggled to love. Although Jesus was perfect, his disciples were not. Peter was willing to cut someone’s ear off to defend Jesus. Do you think he found it easy to love the people who were trying to kill Jesus? Do you think the Christians found it easy to love Paul after all he did to them as it relates to murder and persecution, let alone easy to trust him? Moreover, how could Queen Esther love someone who had a desire to eradicate her nation, the Jewish nation? And how could David love Saul when he wanted to kill him? Love is not easy, but we can all come to love those who have hurt us and those who are against us. It is in loving others that we distinguish ourselves from the rest of the world. In the words of former First Lady Michelle Obama, loving others is how “we go high.”

Moreover, love is radical, and it is many times a form of self-care. Hating and being bitter and holding grudges only hurts ourselves, so we must learn to let the hurt go. I must love myself enough to be able to love you no matter how hard it may be. This is how we become reconciled with others during our grief. In grief, reconciliation with others comes through love.

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