“I felt awkward when teaming up with the two American girls, whom I didn’t know before,” said sis A. “Because I thought they were not willing to have me in their team, or maybe they two were close friends and didn’t want a stranger to join them. I was really frustrated.”
“I know how you feel, sister,” I said. “It’s hard to blend in a new circle and make new friends from a different culture, especially when we underestimate our own language capability as an international student. But we are also not being fair to them, maybe they are just not familiar with communicating with international students. Let’s still do our best.”
“I know, so I expressed my thankfulness and willingness to contribute to our team project,” A said, “One of them responded friendly, but the other still said nothing. I felt hurt.”
“Sister, recently I’ve always been thinking, why do I hesitate to call my mom, why can’t I tell my mom my frustration and difficulties I meet here in the States, why can’t I let her know my need of her support and encouragement,” I intentionally switched to another topic, “Then I realize I don’t trust my mom enough. I’m afraid she won’t speak the words I want to hear, and I can’t accept her different response as I expected. In other words, I can’t accept her completely.”
“I heard you,” said A. ” I have similar problems.”
“So you see, it’s the problem of conditional love,” I said. “We always have a natural fear of rejection, especially of those whom we think important and want to please. If they don’t like us, we begin to have bitterness in our hearts, and we cannot forgive them and love them unconditionally.”
Sis A agreed. She also thought we had a trust problem because we didn’t think we deserved to be trusted and loved, while the only solution is to learn to see ourselves and other people from God’s eyes, accepting ourselves and other people with unconditional love.
As the Scriptures told us, “perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).” Complete love for ourselves and our neighbors can set us free from peer pressure, increase our confidence and trust in others, and provides us with true security. This love, however, can be found and received from Christ alone. Only when we realize what Jesus has done for us and how He loves us can we know how to practice this perfect love.
Lord, please remind us of Your love, mercy, and forgiveness. Please help us learn to love sinners but hate sins. Please correct us every time when we have bitterness and become judgmental. Please guide us along the path of righteousness, wholeness, and holiness. In Your name, I pray, Amen.