"If a man says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (1 John 4:20).
'Brother' is my personal testimony, translated into song, of how Jesus delivered me from hatred. I held a grudge against my brother where I didn't speak to him for 5 long years (although we lived in the same house!). This grudge caused a ripple in my family, brought my mother and sisters many tears, damaged friendships and put a damper on countless holidays. But one day, Jesus spoke to my heart and told me that it was time to end this grudge. My family, and I, were at morning prayer at my church. After prayer ended, I stood before the congregation and addressed my brother who was sitting in the pews. I looked him in the eyes for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, and I said to him just 5 words... "I'm sorry. Please forgive me." I wept uncontrollably as I repeated those words. My Pastor and First Lady, who were present, invited my brother to the front of the church to embrace me as the entire congregation cried aloud, praising God. What I could not do in my own strength, Jesus granted me the grace to do... which was love.
Things were a bit awkward at first (I mean, it's been 5 years!), but we continued to build on the foundation of our renewed relationship. Fast-forward to present time and it's almost as if the grudge never happened! My brother, and I's, relationship is stronger than ever. When we're together, we laugh non-stop, we encourage each other, we make jokes about each other (hey, that's just the way men bond). We're so close that if we sat across the room from each other, we could tell a whole story with just our eyes. Jesus is so amazing and He is still restoring families! So I give Him ALL the praise. I also want to encourage you that if you're holding a grudge against anyone, whether it be a close relative, a distant friend, a member in your church or someone in your neighborhood, I want to admonish you to ask for the LORD's help in ending that grudge. I allowed the enemy to steal YEARS from me; years I could have been enjoying spending time with my brother... years I will never get back.
Not only was the devil robbing me of peace and joy, he was also robbing me of spending eternity in Heaven with Jesus. Hebrews 12:14 says to "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." And 1 John 3:14 says, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loves not his brother abides in death." Whatever ought we have against anyone, it is not worth going to Hell for. So let's love, let's forgive, let's ask forgiveness, and let's enjoy the abundant life that Jesus promises to give to His people (John 10:10). Amen? God bless!
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As a writer, my objective is to provoke thought. As a minister, my objective is to encourage you to Christ. As a disciple, my objective is to do these things in love.