If I could take a big shot of love in my arm right now I would. These trips to the grocery store are getting more interesting every day.
An angry mask-wearing man screamed at a non-mask wearer in the checkout aisle, calling her a “self-righteous #$X%##-** #%*#_.” Another woman glared at me with fierce judgment in her eyes, from a distance of ten feet. My non-mask wearing friend’s husband is a scientist and doctor, and they have made their choice.
She’s also a public servant and a leader in our community.
The vote was cast, decisions were made in the arenas of government, and today is a big day in Texas. The mask order has been lifted, businesses have permission to go to 100%, and one year since this suppression began, we have a choice to navigate it with understanding and respect or hatred and fear.
My friend who got cussed out in the store said she’s never struggled with hatred and anger, but feels this gripping hatred taking over her heart and she can’t seem to shake it.
We need to inoculate ourselves with a big shot of fearless love. For there is no fear in love, and we do not need to fear one another.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].” – 2 Timothy 1:7 AMP
“There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgement – is a life not yet fully formed in love.” – 1 John 4:18 MSG
The greatest protection we have against fearing and condemning others is a dose of the Lord’s love – the very Lord who touched the lepers. If we took the love, forgiveness, and mercy of God like we take our vitamin D, C, and Zinc, people would look for ways to connect across the grocery store aisle. We would stop averting our eyes and avoiding interaction. We would stop idolizing our opinions. We would pray for mutual discernment and respect one another’s right to choose.
Honestly, the people giving dirty looks in the grocery store remind me of the mean girls in junior high who glared at me because I was tall, skinny, and blonde. “I hate you because I’m different than you.”
Instead of, “You and I are different, but made of the same fabric; let’s honor one another. Where we don’t see eye-to-eye, let’s build a bridge of mutual respect and understanding.”
But instead, we have made our opinions into idols. We are telling other people how to think like we think, act like we act, do like we do. (and if you don’t, we will become like the mean girls at school we warned our daughters against, give dirty looks, argue on social media, cuss at you and cancel you!)
We don’t walk in love when we make idols of our opinions.
We don’t walk in love when we fear our neighbors.
We don’t walk in love when we judge our brother.
Let the unmasked be free.
Let the masked stay masked.
Let the people isolate.
Let the people come out.
We are created for connection.
We are able to choose wisely, to love well, and to honor everyone. When people choose anger over their ability to manage themselves, a divisive spirit comes over them and tears communities apart.
The anger and fear are just as contagious as the virus, and just as destructive – if not more so.
Please pray with me:
Inoculate us with your love Lord. Help us remove anger from our hearts. Help us walk in the fear of God and the compassion of our heavenly Father. Help us be quiet, be still, and know that you are God and we are not. Help us admit we don’t know it all, and it’s up to the liberty of each individual to choose connection or criticism. Help us choose wisely.
Thank you that you gave us free will and the power to choose for ourselves. Thank you that you teach us to forgive to the infinite degree. Thank you that you live inside of us and give us wisdom and discernment. Thank you that you heal us and teach us to lay down our burdens every single day.
Heavenly Father, we desperately need you — as a community — as families — as a country — to inoculate us with your love. Give us a healthy dose of your love daily to protect us from the spirit of delusion, division, argument and judgement that is destroying our cities and families and country. Help us be the peacemakers and burden bearers. Help us pay attention to our own sin and stop looking at others with eyes of judgement. Help us humble ourselves Lord Jesus. You hate pride; help us hate it too. Help us Jesus be more like you.
Let’s stand with God that we are called to be “One nation under God.” We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are called to live a life of faith, and bring light and truth into dark places.
Let us remember: He who judges his brother does not have the love of God in him (1 John 4:20).
It’s time we lay down the need to be “right,” admit our own pride and arrogance, and love one another as He loves us – not with eyes of condemnation, but with eyes of mercy, compassionate, and infinite grace.
Inoculate yourselves with the love of God first, my friends. It will be a shield around you and an anchor for your soul.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
At the age of 18, I was recovering from an eating disorder, cutting, and suicide when I read Jennifer Strickland’s book Girl Perfect and it changed my life. At the age of 33, as I travel the world reaching youth for the gospel, this is the only book I recommend to girls who are struggling. The Lord has truly anointed Jennifer’s words through her story, not only to address the struggles of today’s generation of girls, but also to walk them through the healing necessary for victory.
Jennifer is a captivating speaker. She keeps the listener hanging in wonder of what’s coming next! Her presentation is not only absorbing, it reveals the truth of God’s power to heal a wounded spirit.
Barbara Brown, Former Stonecroft Ministries Regional Representative, San Diego, CA
“The ‘P’ word [perfection] may be the heaviest burden women bear. All the misguided things we do to attain it can keep us away from what we need most – the unconditional love of God the Father. The Girl Perfect Study Guide gives you a map to the wholeness you were created for.”
Nancy Ortberg, author and former teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church
“The Girl Perfect Study Guide shatters the lies girls and women believe and points to the ultimate truth, which really does set us free. I am confident that this study will help thousands discover a beauty, purpose, and worth that truly lasts. Thank you Jen for exposing the ‘perfect life’ and inviting girls to experience God’s ‘perfect love.'”
Allie Marie Smith
Allie Marie Smith, Founder of Wonderfully Made
One of the best testaments to what Jennifer is doing for the young girls and women of today is a comment from my eleven-year-old granddaughter: “Grammy, I want to read this book and hear her again. She’s good and I learned a lot.” This is exactly what I experienced from a grown-up perspective when I was introduced to Jennifer Strickland’s amazing story. Read it and see if you don’t get the real story from an icon model and a powerful speaker of truth.”