… is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. Not just for some, but for everyone.”
I was reading about a church plant, Imago, the other day in the book, Blue Like Jazz. In the book, author Don Miller talks about their humble beginning and the difficulty they experienced in growing because of their focus internally. Then the group committed itself to simply loving others because they deserve to be loved. No other agenda, no other motivation, no outreach plan for the church. Just love. In a short time. their community grew and within two years, they have grown to over 500 members. Now, the number here isn’t important but the reality of what happens when we honestly and genuinely love is. Nothing clearer in Scripture than this, right? Love God, love others.
But it isn’t easy, is it. Loving others is messy and complicated and scary. These are nonnegotiables if you are going to love others. But so are joy, care, being understood and new understandings.
“To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive – to grief, sorrow and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before.” – Rollo May
Whatever love you are talking about, this applies. Eros, Philia, or Agape. To love another human – whether in a passionate way or a brotherly/sisterly way – is an opening to the negative as well as the positive. It is because it involves humans with human nature and human depravity. But to not love is shutting the door to the positive – to blessings and intensities that we would miss completely. The old adage: “It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” And to not love means we miss a whole dimension of God that can only be fully understood or known through vulnerable love with one another. Everyone must weigh the risks for themselves but as one who used to be self-protected in this area, let me say with honesty that it is worth it to love and with the help of the Spirit, it is possible to come through any hurt to the other side which is a stronger, wiser member of God’s family.
I am committing myself to loving others more authentically, more compassionately, more Christ-like than I ever have before. Why? Because they deserve to be loved. No agenda, no manipulation. Just love. My prayer is that one day at a time, God will change my heart to match my will to love and that one day I will wake-up and realize that God has done an amazing heart-change in me and to love is no longer a concerted effort but rather way of life-breathing for me. I love without thinking and if I stop loving, I cease.