Jesus has been exercising my heart lately- my love muscle, that is.
Because the world can throw all the four-letter-words it wants, but I have one that beats 'em all.
Probably the most abused and misused word in our language, and perhaps that is fitting because Love is amidst the abused and misused, tending in the dark places.
"For your steadfast love is before my eyes..." Psalm 26:13
The easiest word to conjure, but the hardest action to commit.
For Love draws us out of ourselves, and into another person.
So easy to teach and preach- just words, but what about when the walk must accompany the talk?
What about when the object of our love acts just so... unlovable?
That's when our heavenly Father taps us on the shoulder (none too lightly), His words resounding in the air, "I believe you are sitting in My chair." Climbing off a throne that high can be a humbling experience.
We discussed one of the most famous Love passages at Bible study the other night. Luke 6:27-36.
Jesus must have known the "But, what if..." questioners in the crowd, because He left no loopholes:
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
But what if they say mean things to me or about me?
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
But what if they hurt more than my feelings?
29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also,
But what if they take advantage of me?
and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.
30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.
But what if I don't know how to love them?
31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Then the part of the passage we skipped in the study, but I find so interesting:
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
In other words, what good is it to love like everyone else? Then you'll just look like everyone else.
Why not love differently?
Love until your enemies think you are just weird.
Love your enemies until everyone else agrees, you are weird.
Love like a weirdo.
The more eloquent way to encapsulate that love would be to compel you to, "love so that the glory of God is revealed." But honestly, in the moment, that is usually a bit too lofty for me to grasp.
Love like a Jesus weirdo.
Need something a bit more concrete? Need some extra motivation to get your mind and actions to cooperate? Verse 36...
36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Jesus' instruction- take a long look in the mirror: Romans 5...
7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
He loved and loves me at my most unlovable- never wavering. Never ever.
God grant me strength to love others the same way.
So to all the unbelievers out there:
Go ahead, call me "Weirdo."
I join many brave and beautiful writers over at Simply Beth's Three Word Wednesday.
Come join us!