We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. I John 4:7-8 NIV
I’ve had recurring dreams on separate nights. This time I asked God if there was any significance to the dream. It is 3:23 am and I was nudged to the computer to capture what I felt like God was saying. I am an old man and God speaks to old men by dreaming dreams.
The First Dream
I was counseling a couple who were getting married. They were both in love with one another. In the first dream they were making a decision about where to get married. The girl had her dream picture of what she wanted. The place became unavailable and she pouted. Finally the young man spoke up and declared that he never wanted to get married like this….I know this sounds like a Hallmark movie theme…but it was the dream. The sad part of the dream was the couple were so offended by the conversation that they turned and walked away without reconciling. They did not have the capacity or tools to work through a disagreement or argument.
The Second Dream
The couple came back together and were within a few weeks of the marriage. Another disagreement arose about the wedding. The couple were trying to resolve it. We left the wedding venue to go to a room to finish the conversation. The young man was talking more and determined to pursue his bride. The bride was willing to stay in the conversation. In the dream I was asking the Lord how to help this couple. Half awake and half still dreaming I felt like God gave me two steps for tools. This was a way for people to work through disagreements.
* This is not a “thus saith the Lord’ answer to conflict. This is one way in which to stay engaged to find a resolve. Asking God to help you see the other person, so that you both can move forward.
I asked the couple to turn back to back and then tell me what the other person looked like at the moment. They looked at me and said, “we can’t do this”. Why? “Because we can’t see their faces.” Much of the argument’s problem was the hidden, undisclosed thoughts about “why” the issue was important to them. When the “why” was revealed or uncovered, they could move to the second part. Both need to reveal their “why’s”.
The second part was to make a choice together. I had a bag of three apples, but they could only choose one to share together. They worked through how they would make their decision and finally chose one apple. They were practicing sharing “why” and learning to prefer one another. A healthy resolution to conflict will include an agreed upon choice.
The pattern was simple. Pursue understanding the why something was important. Then learn to prefer to one another to make a choice to move forward.
The Broader Interpretation
Young couples do indeed need to learn how “love for one another” to work through their disagreements. Having a disagreement is not a bad thing. When iron sharpens iron sparks fly. What happens if the two pieces no longer touch each other? We have a society unwilling to stay together to find their resolution. We need to teach how forgiveness and sacrifice are key ingredients to nurture loving relationships.
The Apostle John states that when we fail to love our brother or sister we are liars. Love stays in the relationship for resolve. Our lives, our bodies are like conduits for the love of God. A cap on either end causes staleness or emptiness. Staleness occurs when we keep trying to receive God’s love, but do not allow it to continue to flow to others that we encounter. Dryness comes when we stop receiving God’s love and forgiveness for our own needs. We have very little to offer others when we don’t let God’s love for us into our lives.
Dear Jesus, forgive us for unresolved conflict. Help us! Teach us how to truly love and forgive our brothers and sisters. Help us to stay facing one another to work through our hurts and disappointments. Help us to demonstrate a love that is living and active toward one another.
Dear Jesus, help married couples. Bring hope to let them experience the joy of extending and receiving love for each other. So many have shared hurtful words and endured selfish actions. Please God help these couples on this day to lean toward one another instead of turning away.
Dear Jesus, we are all broken and in need of your help. Let us learn to follow the leading of your Holy Spirit to give us the tools and determination to resolve conflict.
Dear Jesus, I speak peace over troubled hearts. We need…Forgiveness instead of revenge. Calm thoughts instead of escalating restitution. Clasping of hands instead of the closing of fists. Soft answers to turn away wrath expressed in getting the other person back. Speak blessing instead of cursing and judging. Love for one another instead of the suffocation of hatred.
Dear Jesus, help us to love another. God loved us when we were unlovable. Since we all do unlovable things, that does not disqualify us from being worthy of love. Help us to love our spouse, our children, our coworker, our family, our neighbors, those who have offended us, and those who we think are in need. Help us to speak blessing instead of curse for curse.
It’s now 5:00 am. My prayer for you is that God would allow hope to rise in your heart. Every argument and disagreement may not be resolved, but love covers a multitude of sins. May God help you to reconcile with your spouse, your child, or your neighbor. He cares about your hurt and wants you to experience healing and wholeness. Anyone who loves God, must also love his brother and sister.
Blessings Love y’all