This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. 1 John 3:16, MSG
We are ending our monthly exploration of the ways in which God expresses true love, and the ways in which He desires we go out and love on others. That we have learned it is far more than receiving gifts, flowers, sweet nothings whispered to us, and seeking this love from a person. That it is a sacrifice we offer, even when we often don’t feel like it; to those we don’t often like.
Speaking of those we don’t like, I recently had a conversation with my husband. It was after I had kept something that was hurting me to myself for a while. I was disappointed by a relationship. By someone I thought was close. Wouldn’t leave. Was there for me one day, and gone without any explanation the next. It hurt me. It left me wondering what I did wrong. Left me doubting myself. My worth. And I remember in this conversation fighting back tears, though it didn’t take long for them to flow, asking him, “What is it about me? Why are others just so mean to me? I know I do things that are annoying, and I know I have made grave mistakes, but why do I get treated like such dirt?”
This is the human experience of love at times. Or the worldly love we have come to know. The kind we just toss away when it disappoints or we find a shinier, better version. We cut off, or we speak hurtful words. Love should not hurt. Yes, we sacrifice; and sometimes we do things we don’t really want to do for the ones we love; but we don’t hurt those we love. We sacrifice our feelings for them. We put aside our agendas for them. We are willing to leave them better than we found them, even if we have to leave them. If we don’t do these things-we don’t have love. And yes, love disappears. It can even disappear from the person who freely gave it you, leaving them wondering if they are worthy.
I heard this song recently, and I am sharing it as I believe it concludes this month’s exploration; and moves into the next month appropriately. While in love, we may desire letters. Well-crafted words that express feelings of affection; which most of the time we don’t likely receive.
But, we have one. We have a love letter. It’s from God, and I imagine the love letter I would receive back from Him would sound much like it does in this song, especially on those days when I cry out like the artist does to Him-trying to make others proud, seeking approval, coming up empty, feeling worthless, and wanting to just give up. Proving that I need Him more and more.
My desire for you today is that you do love like He loves you. Not in the ways others have disappointed you. That you leave others better than you found them, not the way they left you. All these things are written in your love letter. He will show you how. Just read it when you feel like giving up.