Joyce Meyer - Loving People Who Are Hard to Love - Part 2
- How to know Jesus
And I just wonder, standing here looking at you tonight, who you're mad at. I can honestly stand here and say that right now, at this moment, I'm not mad at anybody. I don't have anything against anybody. And I pray God, that any time something sneaks in there that he'll reveal to me so I can get it out and deal with it. Because if I don't ever do anything else from now, until I die, I want to learn how to love people the way God wants me to love people. Amen? We don't need to try to be famous. We don't need to try to be rich. You know, we just need to learn how to love each other, just love each other. And you don't have to be like me for me to love you and I don't have to be like you. And you don't have to be perfect, you can make mistakes.
And the Bible says, "To bear with the failings of the weak". Because we all have to put up with our own little oppressive load of faults. Who do we think we are to shut somebody out of our life because they've got a couple of quirky things in their personality? We're all quirky. Amen? Everybody seems normal till you really get to know 'em. Then you find out, "You're a little weird". You know, what's in your heart comes out of your mouth. We gotta stop this, "Well, I love her, but..." That is, I never realized how silly that is. We say that all the time, "Well, I love her, but this just really irritates me so bad". That's not what love is. Love says: "I love you enough that I'll put up with that if I have to, because I know I'm not perfect either". Amen.
Let's just say your neighbor has been really hard to deal with. Now, you find out that he's got cancer, stage 4, and probably won't make it. Well, if you really are trying to do what God wants you to, you won't say, "Well, you reap what you sow. Serves him right". No, what you're gonna do is go mow his grass, shovel his snow, and you're gonna think, "I've got an opportunity, now. This guy's down and out and I'm gonna love him into the kingdom before he dies". Amen? You offer to take him to his doctor's appointments. You offer to go to the grocery store for him. And he's not stupid, he knows he's been a jerk. And he's gonna know that there's something really strange about you, if you're offering to do all these things. "Well, why should I do that"? Well, why should Jesus do what he did for us? Can anybody in here think of any good reason why Jesus should have died for you? I can't think of any good reason why he should have done it for me. But he did, while I didn't care anything about him at all. You just don't know how tickled I am to preach this, tonight.
Now, this is just something I've found, and I believe it's biblical, and you do what you want to. But for me, I have discovered that when I'm caught in a trap like that, if I will do something nice for them, send them a gift, whatever, it breaks that power. Love overcomes evil. Amen? And you can do it anonymously. It's like this mysterious, magical power that works. I tell pastors, if you've got somebody in your church and you've been good to them, and when they came to your church, they were just a mess and you've helped 'em and prayed with 'em and loved 'em into wholeness. And now, they take about half your congregation and go two miles down the road and start their own church. You know, if you're smart, what you'll do, buy 'em a sound system. Now, that went over big. Come on, now, this is 40 years. Help me a little bit.
And of course, the first, "Well, why should I do that"? Well, because you're like Jesus, supposedly. Amen? I don't know, I feel like I know this secret. If I can just get people to understand this. And I know you've heard my story, but I can't preach this message without giving you the quick version of the thing with my mom and dad. My dad sexually abused me. Started with molestation when I got old enough, literally turn me into his mistress. He didn't force me physically, but he forced me with fear. And there's so many terrible things, and a couple of things, really, that I've never even told anybody. They just would be hard for me to even say. And my mom knew what he was doing to me: she caught him, I told her, and she didn't have the courage to deal with it. And so, naturally, I just wanted to get away from him and stay away from him.
I did the thing, you know, I'd send 'em a little something on Christmas or I'd go to the house for 45 minutes then make some excuse to get out of there. And a little birthday gift. And they lived about 300 miles away from St. Louis, and I was just glad. Well, as they got older and weren't able to take care of themselves, there weren't any real good doctors near where they were at, and they didn't have any money. And I was praying one morning... you gotta be careful when you pray, 'cause God's liable to tell you to do something you don't wanna do. And all of a sudden it came to my heart that I should move them to St. Louis and buy them a house. "I rebuke that in Jesus' name". I said, "That is the devil". "Buy them a house and take care of them until they die".
You know, the first thing that I... well, at first, I didn't think it was God, but then it kept coming back to me and coming back and coming back. You know that stuff that just won't go away? You might as well just go ahead and do what God wants 'cause he is not gonna shut up until you do. And man, I didn't want to do that. Woah, I did not want to do that. I didn't wanna give them, it was gonna take money to buy a house. Dave and I didn't have that much money. And so, one of the first things I said is, "Why should I do that? They never did anything for me". And, you know, God didn't cut me any slack. He said, "You're breathing, aren't you? They fed you. They sent you to school. They put clothes on your back and a roof over your head". Phew.
Well, you know, God wants us to find something good about somebody, no matter how much bad there is. And the Bible tells us if we don't take care of our relatives, we're worse than an unbeliever. And he doesn't say "Do it if they're nice," or, "If they've been good to you," he just says, "Do it". Ooh, you, so, I thought, "Well, I'm gonna go ask Dave and he's gonna tell me there's no way he's gonna spend the little money we got, buying them a house". And Dave said, "Well, if God told you to do it, you'd better do it". Well, thank you. Long story, short, we bought 'em a house, we bought 'em a car. We paid somebody to cut their grass. We made sure they had groceries every week. You know, all the stuff it takes to live and of course, they just, we got longevity in my bloodline. I kept thinking, "This has gotta be over soon". Nope. They'd make it another year.
And well, I'm just telling you the truth. And so, three years, my father was still just as mean as a snake and no, "Thank you," no nothing. And then one morning, my mother called and said, "Your dad's been crying for a week, and he wants to know if you'll come over". So, I went over and now he's 80-years-old. Eighty! And he apologized to me, finally. Eighty! And I asked him, I said, "Daddy, would you like to be saved"? He says... And so, we prayed with him. Prayed the prayer of salvation with him. And he asked us if we would baptize him, and I hope this doesn't come across sounding wrong, but I thought I was buying a house, but I bought a soul. Amen?
And here's what I want you to understand. I didn't even realize what an effect that was gonna have on me and what I was gonna learn out of that. But I know that what I'm trying to tell you tonight is real. And my father hurt me because he'd been hurt. He had a lot of really warped ideas about sex. And I think he put those ideas off on my mother and there was just a lot of weirdness in my family. And I felt like I ended up taking care of all of them: my brother, my mother, my father, and my widowed aunt. And at one time, we were paying for my mom, my dad, and my aunt all to be in nursing home care. And I mean, it was expensive. For a while, they lived in their house. And then when they got too old, we put 'em in an assisted living apartment and then they went from there to the nursing home, and what I'm gonna tell you is absolute truth. For years, I went every other week to that nursing home and visited them.
Now, listen to me. There was not one time that I went that I wanted to go. Not one. But I knew it was the right thing to do. Now, somebody, please get what I'm trying to say. We gotta come up higher. And we gotta do what's right, because it's right. Not because we want to, or it feels good. This agape kind of love you don't necessarily have the warm and fuzzies. But you see, it pleases me to know that my father is in heaven looking down tonight sayin', "Go get 'em, girl"! Amen? So, that's that story. And I know from that, that this same thing works with everybody.
Now, Romans 12:20 says, "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him: if he's thirsty, give him something to drink: for if you do this you'll heap burning coals upon his head". And we think, "Yeah, I like those burning coals. Pour it on God". Well, wait a minute. Let me tell you what those are. Footnote in the Amplified Bible under Proverbs 25:21, it says, "This is not to be understood as a revengeful act intended to embarrass your enemy, but just the opposite. It gives the picture of the high priest who on the day of atonement took a censer and filled it with burning coals of fire and put it on the hot coals and this incense produced a sweet smell".
Every time we walk in love, it's like this sweet smell goes up before God. "And the cloud of smoke from the incense covered the mercy seat and became acceptable to God for atonement". So, yeah, when you love somebody that doesn't deserve it, it's like heaping burning coals of fire on their head. But you know what those burning coals do? They melt those hard, nasty, mean hearts. Come on. All right, Colossians 3, "Clothe yourselves, as God's own chosen ones, (his own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God himself, by putting on behavior...]", you ever think of that? We put on behavior. You can put off behavior. You can put on behavior. "[Marked by] tenderhearted pity, mercy, kind feelings, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience, [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]".
Verse 14 says, "And above all that you [put on, put on] love". Now, I don't know about you, but when I'm getting dressed in the morning, if I put on something, I go and look at myself in the mirror. Some people, I'll look at them and I think, "Surely, you did not look in the mirror before you left, today". I'm like, "Whoa". Always look at yourself in the mirror before you leave. And if you look at yourself and it don't look right, you'll take it off and try something else. Pennie told me tonight she put on four different things. Well, I put this on and then I put on something else, then I put on something else, then I put this back on.
So, there are clothes that look good on us and clothes that don't. And we are clothed spiritually as well as physically, see. And in the spirit world, God and the devil see our spiritual clothes. And in revelation 16:15 and 17, it says, "Behold, I'm going to come like a thief", that's Jesus saying, "I'm gonna come quickly. Sneak up. You're not gonna be expecting me". "Blessed, (happy, and to be envied) is he who stays awake and guards his clothes, so that he may not be naked and [have the shame of being] seen exposed".
Now, that doesn't mean to sit in your closet with a shotgun and guard your clothes. He's talking about, "Be careful about the kind of behavior that you have because that's all the world can see is how we behave". And I'll just tell you right now, do not put a bumper sticker on your car if you're not gonna behave like a Christian. Don't do it. I am tired of people disrespecting the church and disrespecting Christians, but in a way, I understand why they feel about us the way that they do because there's so many phonies. Amen? And I'm not playing games, I'm either gonna do this right or not do it. Amen?
So, I had 'em make me these things. And, you know, there's certain things that just don't look good us. I'm gonna try this one on and see what I think. Eww. Anger, well. Nah, that don't look good on me. I'll have to try something else, here. Let's see. Oh, how about this one? I don't think this color looks good on me, but maybe I could get by with it, we'll see. Let's see. Eww, envy. Well, that don't look very good on me either, does it? I'll hang 'em up later. Oh, how 'bout this one? Woohoo! Wow! By the way, that's gonna be my next book. I'm gonna write it, "What about me"?
Alright, well, we're gonna get on this one tomorrow afternoon. That don't look good either. Man, do I have anything in this closet that's gonna look right? Let's try this one. Tried everything else. See, if this one works. Ahh, finally! Something that looks right. Now, I'm ready to go for the day. Amen? And what you gotta do is you gotta take time in the morning. You know what? If we took half of the time getting dressed spiritually, I don't know about you, but I don't look like this when I get up.
I mean, I've already got a plan. I'll get up at six in the morning, I'll pray, spend some time with God, study a little bit. I got somebody comin' to fix my hair. I got somebody comin' to do my makeup, I've got my outfit picked out and it'll take me a couple hours to get this in order to show up over here looking right. Well, you know what I figured out? It takes me longer than that to get dressed spiritually than to look right. Now, it's getting easier all the time. But man, in the beginning, whew, it was hard. Are you understand me?
All right, now, talk to yourself before you go out every day. Have a meeting with yourself and talk to yourself. And tell yourself, "Now, with God's help today, I'm gonna behave right. I'm gonna put on behavior that's right". The Bible says in Ephesians 6 to "Put on righteousness," "Put on peace," "Put on the helmet of salvation". Think like a Christian. Amen? Lift up the shield of faith, wield the two-edged sword of the Holy Spirit.
Love is the most important thing in the world. "Now abides faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love". Will anybody make a commitment, to buy everything you can get your hands on about love, to find every scripture you can, in the Bible, about love, read every book you can get your hands on about love, pray about love, ask the Holy Spirit to annoy you, no end, until you learn how to love people the way God does? Amen?