It has been awhile since I have stepped up here. You know, on my soap box. Every once in a while something becomes so passionate in me that I have to share so that I won't forget. If you aren't in the mood to hear me preach it, skip this one. It might be hard for some to read...
Love has been on my mind lately. Not romantic love, but real godly love. I think it probably sparked inside me during our foster parenting classes. What does it mean to really love someone like Christ did? Once I figure that out I think that is how I will choose to love the children who come to stay with us. Since we can have no expectation that our love will be returned, it has to be selfless and without conditions. This might be surprising, but some of the children might hate living with our family. I know. Shocking. But really we have to learn how to love them anyway. We have to model for them Christ's love.
As he often does, God started bringing up the topic of love to me through other people. First my friend, wrote this post. Then my former pastor started sharing devotional thoughts and scriptures about the idea of love on Facebook. This morning you guessed it, our pastor taught on love from the "love chapter", 1 Corinthians 13. Clearly God wants me to chew on the idea.
Unfortunately it has also brought my attention to feelings of disappointment in others. This would be the time when I could say "the American Christian church as a whole does not know what it means to love" but I won't. Well I guess I just did, but I won't elaborate. My thoughts have been thinking more close to home. We all give excuses why we can't love... I'm afraid of commitment. I have been lied to, cheated on, ignored. That guy really annoys me at work. My Dad wasn't there growing up. She gossips. He brings too much drama. I can't possibly forgive her. I'm busy. I'm busy. I'm busy.
I've heard so many excuses lately. Seriously people, you have to choose to love. First you have to know how Christ loved and then you just have to do it. You have to love EVERY ONE. Make effort. Really love them. Not be nice to most people but totally resent that one family member who hurt you. Not serve in your church but be rude to the tired waitress who mixed up your order. Not give up something for lent but just live in your own little world.
Do you know how easy it would have been for God to stay up in heaven and yet expect us to figure out how to come to him? But he didn't. He came to us and loved us in spite of ourselves. He showed us how to love. Really love. Why do we think any pile of excuses can give us a free pass to get out of really loving someone? Why do we let years pass by without making intentional connections with the people God have placed on our paths?
I challenge you to learn how Christ loved and do it. That is what I am going to do. Other than the Wednesday update after our foster care class, I won't be on here for the next week. I need to study what it means to love. Love my husband, my kids, my parents, my sisters, my in-laws, my neighbors, my far away friends, my soon-to-be friends, and every other person I see each day of my life. I need to really get this.
At the end of the week I would like to hear what you learned about the way Christ loved. Get ready to share because you know I will.
I'll close with a story I heard on the radio the other day. A woman was recalling her lunch with a friend who had lost her husband. She asked the recent widow what she would share with others who wanted to know how to help someone going through a similar tragedy. Her friend's response stuck with her. It went something like this... When someone suffers a loss don't tell them "let me know if you need anything". They can't even think about what they need in the next ten minutes while grieving much less be mindful enough to ask someone for help to meet it. Just do. Bring a meal, mow their lawn, pick up an extra gallon of milk at the store.
Love without waiting to be asked. Love before they seek your forgiveness. Love without even knowing their name.
Don't you think that is how God would want us to show his love to this lost and dying world in need of a Savior that we know? I do. And I want to be like that.
When did we make love about us instead of completely about HIM?
See you back here next Sunday.