Sunday, December 4, 2011

Love is Not a Passing Bravery

            Thousands of opportunities to demonstrate love knock on my heart daily. To encourage a struggling brother. To comfort a hurting friend.  To pick up where another left off. To forget for a second, my wants, and to instead meet another's. To clean up messes, prevent wounds, and shoulder burdens. To wash feet. To serve as Christ did.

             Instead of welcoming Opportunity to Love with open arms, I often hide behind the shades, cowardly waiting until it leaves. I shoo it away - away from my door, far from my eyes. I deadbolt my door against it. Many days, I spend all my time behind those curtains; and some days, I never even hear Opportunity knocking. I convince myself that I'm honorably ignoring a distraction - to open that door will only sidetrack me. But in truth, with every cringe behind those dark curtains, I lose the extraordinary opportunity to share in the gospel of Love. I say "no" to putting my flesh to death. I forfeit the opportunity to emulate Christ and grow in His Spirit. Every time Opportunity to Love walks away in resignation from my door,  I lose. Tremendously.

             And somehow, in all this curtain hiding, peep-hole peeking, door bolting, I still manage to believe that I DO love. I do care about others. Would someone please hand me a dictionary and show me the definition for "Delusional"? I do occasionally help someone out {okay, so usually there's an ulterior motive}. Those I care about, I'll go the extra mile for, but so long as it isn't painful, or too boring, or humbling, or disruptive to my day. . . and, boy, if it is, you can be sure I'm complaining about it in my heart. I "love" when it's easy; when it's popular, when it benefits me. I have clasped to this distorted view of love, or more accurately, the lack thereof. I  I have worn it. I have chased it. I have proudly attempted to love others without causing any discomfort to myself - and all this has been done in the name of love. For the cause of me. How utterly deceptive.

             "Love - I made it mine. I made it small; I made it blind. I followed hard only to find. It wasn't love."

             It wasn't love.

             But this is . . .

             Love bared His flesh to bloodying lashes. Love humbly accepted spit upon His face. Love bore in silence, a humiliating crown of thorns crushed upon His brow. Love took nails driven crudely through His skin, shattering bone and ligament. As life dwindled from His veins and breath from His lungs, Love forgave the depraved generation, hurling vulgarities at Him. In the greatest demonstration of love, time has ever known, Love became His Father's rejection. Love drank the cup - the draught frothing with the sin of man, the cup that would require the full vengeance of God's wrath.

             And the night before this ultimate love offering, Love knelt to tenderly wash the dust-caked feet of His followers. In His hands -  soon be rendered asunder by metal barbs - He gently took and cleaned the feet of His betrayer. Love served. Love protected. Love kept no record of wrongs. Love did not boast. Love was not self-seeking. Love did not hide behind curtains. Love took the washbasin, and became the Servant. Love accepted the nails, and became the slaughtered Lamb.

            And this was done under the Banner of Love. For the Cause of redeeming the depraved captives.

            This was Love. 

            It's time to take the curtains down.

           "Love not of you. Love not of me. Come hold us up; come set us free. Not as we know it, but as it can be."

Quotes taken from Sara Groves' song, "Love". 

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