01.24.2018

“Love actively,” I remember her telling me, like 5 months ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I remember bringing up those people with whom I was having trouble with; people I was feeling jealous of and wondering what to do about it. She told me to go against my flesh and do what was abnormal – love actively.  Actively seek out how to love those people more, instead of drawing away from them.

I have found this same strain weaving through my reading, my writing, my listening and my music lately – Love actively.

Don’t leave people guessing if you love them or not.  Actively love, if you feel like it or not, or if you want to or not.  Initiate.  Pursue.  “Love does,” says Bob Goff, and I agree.

Love does.  Look at the cross and you will see how love does.  (While we were yet sinners, He died for us)

Love does.  Love actively.  I think of her again….I don’t know anyone else who loves as faithfully as she.  She is always choosing to love us, however unlovable, bedraggled, or exasperating we are.  She loves by listening.  If you don’t know much about her, it is because she has been too busy listening and asking you about YOU.

While we are on the topic of loving actively, there are these lyrics, that cut me with conviction one day:

We know but we don’t move

We have but we don’t give

We just wanna live

We just wanna be

Behind the castle walls

Living like Kings and Queens

If we say we believe

If we say we’ve been set free

Forever changed

You’ll know us by our love

You’ll know us by our love 1

“You’ll know us by our love.”

Sadly, as much as I talk about loving and doing, oftentimes, I choose the opposite. We choose to live like kings and queens in the midst of the hurt and hardship.  It is easier, isn’t it?  Isn’t selfishness always easier?

Perhaps.  In some ways maybe.

In the long run, it just leaves us like any other sin – bitter, empty, like we’ve drunk a fleeting cup of happiness but it only leaves us more thirsty and disgusted.

I have been thinking about this lately – how much do I love actively?  Do I leave people in my wake, quizzically wondering or is my love for them concrete and unmistakingly evident?

No one ever questioned Jesus’ love.  It was always there, always unmistakably evident.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” 2

To love is to be vulnerable.

Sometimes, loving causes us to look silly to the world.  Sometimes, they won’t understand why we do what we do.  Sometimes, loving others causes us to be uncomfortably and courageously vulnerable.  It’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t say, “love others only if they promise to love you back.  Love only if they promise to be as vulnerable with you as you are with them.  Love if it feels good.  Love, but be careful and be safe.”

No.

I am sure Jesus looked foolish sometimes; reaching out a hand to the leper and the beggar and the stuffy-nosed kid.  I’m sure the pious Pharisees, in their perfect garb, laughed mockingly at Him.  They thought Him foolish to care so much.  They thought Him foolish to reach out, love actively, and give of Himself to people who never could repay such love; people, who oftentimes, ran off, forgetting of the Giver and just rejoicing in their gift.

“He doesn’t get much thanks, does He?” thought the Pharisees.  They thought of the great gifts of wealth they gave that morning.  Of the people who lauded and praised them in the marketplaces.  They walked away haughtily, noses in the air.  “What a fool”, they said.

Yet, they were the fools.  (Matthew 23)

I’ve pondered all this a lot lately.  Sadly and honestly to say,  I have found myself in the Pharisee category more often than I would like to say.  I’ve chosen comfort-ability, convenience and safety over action, giving, loving, vulnerability.

There is still so much selfish in me.  There is still so much Gospel-centered, joy-filled, active, giving love that I need.

“Oh Lord, teach me to love like You.”

{footnotes:  1. Kings and Queens, Nicole Serrano.

2. Quote by C.S. Lewis}

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