Ruth and a college classmate did not get along. Ruth told me the story.
"Others did not know of our dislike for each other, but we both knew it. This went on for two years. I thought, I haven't done anything; this is her fault so I don't need to apologize.
Finally, tired of harboring wrong feelings, Ruth prayed, "Lord, would You help me to love her?" She still did not love her, though, despite her prayer.
One day the Spirit convicted Ruth that she should apologize to her. She saw the classmate across the gym, and started towards her wondering why she was doing it.
"But as soon as I said her name, I felt God's love cover me from the top of my head down to my feet. When I asked her to forgive me, she began telling me all the things I had done wrong. Amazed, I thought, There's another side to this! We became friends and are still close friends today."
The moment Ruth did her part, God gave her plenty of love. Sometimes we pray for deliverance from an unloving situation, when God is saying, "Trust Me to love that one through you. Do what you would do if you loved her."
Producing the fruit of the Spirit is a cooperative effort between us and the Holy Spirit. It is as though our loving acts open the channel for His love to flow through us.
Dear Jesus, thank You, that with Your Spirit within, I can love others just as they are!
"God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (Romans 5:5).
"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 6:44).
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32).