“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:11,12
The above verse ought to stir us – and at a deeper level – convict us. It is one of those verses in the Bible that we gloss over quickly – but if we’re really honest – we aren’t really good at demonstrating it – at least most of the time.
I would love to think that His love is always shining out through me to others – and yet I am more convinced of my weaknesses than ever before – and any puffed up pride that I had before – is now gone. I know what the real story is – and the things that go on inside my head that no one can see. I know I do not always love. I even know that sometimes I don’t feel that others deserve it – especially those that have hurt me in some way. I may be really good at hiding it – years of practice etc. – but I know the real story.
What does it really mean to love one another? It is a demonstration of unselfish, no hidden agenda, unguarded and unsung love. Putting aside the many layers of the “walls” I have put up around myself – so others will not abuse me – will not hurt me again – will not take me for granted – will not devalue me. And few people are really capable of this kind of love.
In the movie “Field of Dreams” there is a famous line – the main character builds a baseball field out of his acres of corn on his farm in Iowa – not asking any questions – just knowing he’s compelled to do it – then finally when his frustration and selfish nature take over toward the end of the story he asks the all important question: “what’s in it for me”? I have felt like this many times – as I know you have too. Sometimes we are just called to “love” with nothing in return – because it’s the right thing to do – because it is proof positive that God resides in us – and that He is doing His best work through us. And what a great example of self sacrificing love – we couldn’t ask for a better role model of “perfect” love. And because we are forgiven and loved much – we in turn need to respond and love our brother.
Easy to do? Sometimes. When our brother is kind and loving back. What happens when he (or she) is not? What happens when they are just plain ugly to me – hurtful and spiteful? Surely the Lord would understand my frustration with them and let me off the hook, right? Wrong. It then becomes an act of my will to love them properly and completely – like He loved and still loves me.
Sometimes I think I get it. Sometimes I can see the good inside of someone who has hurt me – see beyond the ugly – look beyond the pain and still see them. Oh it hurts to love them – and you talk about risk? Ouch – it hurts my heart – and I want to protect my heart – don’t you? But to truly love as God would have me love – is the right thing to do and even though it hurts me so much – it also “betters” me. I become soft and pliable. I feel God smile. I feel Him whisper – “you finally get it”. That is the pay off – the answer to the question “what’s in it for me”? And I don’t know about you – but having my heavenly Father proud and happy with me – means more to me than human approval – and man’s attempts at “pumping me up”. The simple things to confound the wise. Simple truths. Keeping it real. Walking in Love.
Have an awesome day – as you too learn to really love the way God intended. With nothing in it for you. Just because it’s the right thing to do.