I want to talk about something that's been weighing really heavily on my heart lately, because it's something that I'm 100% guilty of. I was listening to Emerson Eggerichs sermon on the Two Key Ingredients for Successful Relationships for maybe the 5th time (guys it's SO good.) and I had one of those "ohhhhh" moments where I realized that this thing I had heard over and over was speaking directly to me. It wasn't a vague abstract anymore. It was telling me I Was Doing Something Wrong.
And here's what it is: Nothing anyone does to us gives us the permission to love less like Jesus.
Let me say that again.
Nothing anyone does to us GIVES US THE PERMISSION to love LESS LIKE JESUS.
That is not to say that if you are in an abusive situation to stay in it. In fact, that's something I'll write on later because I fully believe that getting yourself OUT of an abusive relationship is essential.
What it means is that nothing anyone does to us gives us the permission to love less like Him, because when we love someone, we Are. Loving. Him. It is a direct reflection of our love for Christ, and to show anything less than that is to say that another human being's negative behavior has any direct effect on the way that we love Him.
It sounds crazy when you put it like that, but it's true. We do this all the time, whether it's with friends, family, our significant others, or even perfect strangers.
Someone is rude to us at the grocery store because we're standing in an isle too long, what do we do? Do we show them the love of Jesus, or do we scoff and mutter something under our breath about "people these days." ?
A friend that used to be reliable now flakes constantly, and you feel like the relationship is one sided. You get into an argument with your mom over something she said to you in front of boyfriend. Your boyfriend/fiancé/husband doesn't show you the love that you're used to. Maybe he's short tempered with you. Maybe he uses words that he shouldn't. You guys get into a fight and you think "well if he's going to be like this, then I'll show him..."
No. None of these situations matter.
I'm going to say it one more time. Nothing ANYONE does gives you PERMISSION to love less like Jesus does. God doesn't command us to love o-n-l-y if someone is showing us the love of Christ first. And this is something that I've been guilty of myself, because it's really easy. It's really easy not to want to show love when you don't feel loved. It's really easy to think "well if THEY loved me then I would love THEM back." But guys, GUYS, that is exactly the issue. We are letting another human being, another completely fallible sinful person -affect- the way we show our love for Christ.
Someone once said to me, and I remember this vividly because it was such a shattering moment... they said "I'm trying really hard to love you through this." It wasn't said softly, or sadly. It was said in anger, and I felt that to the very core of my being. I didn't feel like they were -trying- to love me. I felt like they were trying to tell me how un-loveable I was. And in that moment, that's exactly how I felt. I felt completely unworthy of love.
But that is not the case at all. I am loved because HE loves me deeply + fully. The same God who created mountains and fields of poppies. Who spun rubies and painted skies. The same God who has made EVERY BEAUTIFUL THING I have ever taken a picture of MADE ME. And that is where my worth is tethered. That is where I know that I am loved.
But in this moment I questioned it. I questioned it when what I really should have been questioning was why another person was allowing -anything- to affect their love for Christ, because that's exactly what it was.
And I'm not saying that it's always easy to love people. It's not. Sometimes they hurt you or let you down. Sometimes they come at you with hurtful words, or even fists. Sometimes they may FEEL hard to love.
It doesn't matter.
Because loving Him is EASY. And when we are loving another person, what we are really doing is loving Him.
We pour out His love. We love other people to their fullest + we encourage them in their worth, with no expectations of receiving anything back, because That's Not What it's About.
This week I implore you to love like He loves. Love hard + love fully. If someone loves Christ but is not showing that love, do not let the way they treat you affect the way you love them. And if someone doesn't know Him, remember that you may be the only example of His love that they see. Be a good one.