Called to Love

by Judith MacNutt
2018 Vol. 04

The Lord calls us to love. Most of us know the verse John 3:16, “For God so loved the world,” but are we familiar with 1 John 3:16? In 1 John 3:16, the apostle John speaks again of love. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

We are called to be the presence of Jesus in this world — to show His love to people. Love fulfills the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe one day when we stand before the Father, one question He will ask us is, How much did you love? Did you love those I placed in your life? Did you show my love to your husband, to your wife, to your children? Did you reflect my glory and my love with those that I brought to you?

I find that many people want to be anointed by God to have a healing ministry. When I sit down with them and tell them what a healing ministry really entails, they usually change their mind. The healing ministry is hard work. Ministry in general is hard work. It requires laying down your life for another person. It calls us to lay down ;our humanity and our natural emotional responses. When people reject you, it requires loving them in response. Gifting them with these types of loving responses is difficult. It assaults our pride. Instead of offering forgiveness to people, everything in us might want to strike back. As a society, we are too sophisticated or cultured to strike back physically, but we do it verbally or sometimes nonverbally. We want to punish a mean person and let them know they will have to live the rest of their lives with the consequences of their mistakes.

Paul invites us to pray for the renewing of our minds — I find this to be a necessary response, and one that is advisable. In addition to a changed and renewed mind, our hearts must be softened in order to give and receive love.

In marriage counseling I found this to be pertinent. A person may understand intellectually that their spouse loves them, but they might be unable to receive love and therefore find it difficult to return love. They might say, I feel like my heart is a block of ice. Where do we begin the work of healing with someone whose heart is unable to receive? We can’t just read them Bible verses and say, Claim that scripture.

I love the Word of God. It is precious to me and to most believers, but my experience is that some haven’t been able to incorporate the Word into their lives. They can hear it, but it hasn’t yet made that 12–inch journey from the head to the heart, the journey that enables them to love.

Ideally, when the Lord moves into our lives and we receive Him and the Holy Spirit, changes start taking place in our hearts. Unfortunately, many people stop at the point of conversion. They receive Jesus, but they don’t incorporate His life, love and mercy into their lives. The grace of God must be poured out supernaturally into our hearts. The love of God will do two things — it will bring healing of the experiences that have wounded us (the events that prevent us from walking in love), and it will enable us to receive the gift of love to act graciously toward other people.

While I was a psychologist working in Boston, I thought, If I could only love enough, these people would be healed. Hour after hour I poured out love to my patients. My efforts gave them a shred of hope, but didn’t heal them. God got through to me and allowed me to realize that my love doesn’t heal — He is the healer. When I combined prayer and God’s love with the love that I felt, healing was able to flow. Then and only then did I begin to see people healed of all kinds of mental illnesses.

It is very difficult to be a loving person if we have not been shown love. In psychology, we were taught that the cornerstone of mental health is love, acceptance, and affirmation of your life, your goodness and your very being. You can often tell when someone grew up with wonderful, loving parents. They are secure, confident, loving and accepting of others and self because they didn’t experience rejection. When parents reject a child, it may be difficult for them to believe they are acceptable. I have had people say to me, If my own mother didn’t love me, how can you love me? or My father abandoned me at birth, I must have been terrible and ugly. Lack of love or abusive behavior in the home may be the cause of deep wounding.

Someone once said that our lives are shaped by those who love us and also by those who refuse to love us. Those that have rejected us leave a powerful imprint on our hearts.

Those that love us unconditionally, however, come and help wash away the hurt. God’s love cleanses and frees us to then become His agents of healing to others — to be His hands extended on this earth.

Allow the Spirit to show you what keeps you from knowing and receiving His love.

Judith MacNutt Judith MacNutt is author, teacher, conference speaker and co–founder of CHM. 2018 Vol. 04