I have spent a good portion of the past few weeks apart from my wife. Barb has been helping her parents with their transition into an assisted living setting. Some of you are well aware that what Barb is working on can be exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. But this is what love does naturally. Barb and I have been loved by her parents during our lifetimes, so we love them back because it is right and good. It isn’t paying back nearly as much as it is just the “back and forth nature” of healthy loving relationships.
If you are like me you crave these deep loving relationships. We want the sense of security and identity that comes in loving and being loved. This feels so right and foundational because that is just what it is. John the Apostle states very clearly why true loving relationships are so essential to our lives in I John 4:8 – “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
The thing about God’s love is that it was fully instigated and played out on one side without viewing it as a waste if reciprocation didn’t happen. As much as I may want to think I am good at loving, when I consider the love of God I need to just stop – Oh my! That is a most amazing sort of love. This is a profound love of a Father giving up His Son so that His enemies can receive gifts. This is an outrageous sort of love that in the middle of the Son’s crucifixion he actually cares for the ones that nailed Him there. That is not normal – that is extraordinary to say the least.
As odd as this kind of love is – Jesus expects His followers to love like this as well. I am quite aware that we are far from perfect in this area but that doesn’t mean that we are not going to go after it. Imagine how little we would do in life if we only would do things that we could do perfectly. Take a chance and love just because you can! Go beyond your friends and family; love someone who needs your love and then love them sacrificially not only because you can but because you believe God created you to love like this. Do it because it will connect you to Jesus in a new way. Love like this because it feeds your soul!
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High…"
In Christ’s Love,