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Stick with Love

by: Ellene Meece

Martin Luther King, Jr. is known to have said, "The reason I can't follow the old eye-for-an-eye philosophy is that it ends up leaving everyone blind." He also said, "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

"Anger and hatred are natural, but they are also some of the most toxic emotions that we can have. Feelings of rage and hatred build up in the mind, body and soul, affecting the body's organs and natural processes and breeding even more negative emotions. Expressing anger in reasonable ways can be healthy, but explosive people who hurl objects and yell at others frequently may be at greater risk for heart disease. Prolonged bouts of anger can take the toll on the body in the form of high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, headaches and poor circulation. Research also shows that even one five-minute episode of anger is so stressful that it can impair your immune system for more than six hours. All of these health issues can lead to more serious problems such as heart attacks and stroke. Anger and hatred can be directed at yourself or at other people, but either way you lose when you allow these negative foods for the soul to take over." Dr. Cynthia Thaik, Cardiologist

In this world of multiple opportunities to bear the burden of hate, it's imperative we stick with love.

When criticism and false accusations are spoken about us . . . stick with love.
When misunderstandings raise questions about others we believe in . . . stick with love.
When life hands us negative situations to solve . . . stick with love.

Don Swartzlander, the director of Teen Challenge in Buffalo, New York, recently told of an experience with a lady who hated their ministry. She was a well-known "advocate" for anyone who had a complaint in their city. She had been protesting Teen Challenge's move to a new location where they could expand their ministry.

One day Don was at a community meeting, and saw this lady come limping into the meeting. "God spoke to my heart and told me to pray for her," stated Don. "So I bowed my head and breathed a prayer to God for her. Instantly in my heart God responded, 'No, you go pray for her!'

"So at the end of the meeting I went up to where she was seated and asked if I could pray for her. She was willing, so I placed my hand on her shoulder and prayed a very simple prayer for her."

A few weeks later Don saw this same woman at another community meeting. "When she entered the room, she loudly called out, 'I love you!' " Don stated, "I was not paying much attention to her, since she was always talking loud. But she repeated this, and came right up to me, threw her arms around me and gave me a great big grandma hug!"

"God had touched her-not only had she experienced God's healing physically, but God had touched her heart," shared Don. "From that day on she was a friend and advocate for Teen Challenge in any issue that related to our ministry." * Living Free, When People Hurt You

"Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, 'Love your enemies.' It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can't stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they'll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That's love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There's something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies." From "Loving Your Enemies" Martin Luther King Jr.

I have decided to stick with love.

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