Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Do we love? Do we love like Christ?

I'm going to piggy back on a great post Scott Hodge made today. Scott is reading a book on my want list, Peppermint-Filled Piñatas: Breaking Through Tolerance and Embracing Love by Eric Bryant of Mosaic Church (yeah, Erwan McManus' church).

Scott writes:

In chapter one, Eric quotes this scripture:

1 John 4:9-12
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Then Eric says this:

Love equals sacrifice... For too long, I have loved when it was convenient, expedient, or even strategic. To love to the point where it actually hurts connects more closely to what the word means. Love has been reduced to "like" or "lust." Genuine love requires genuine sacrifice."

Wow. That really hits home for me. Scott asks "Can we call it love if there is no sacrifice involved?" Ouch. That's a great and very difficult question that requires some personal soul searching.

Love is a word that is often used far too lightly in our culture. Few fully understand the meaning of what love is. Many of us get glimpses from time to time, but rarely do we see it in it's fullness. To love like Christ, man that is hard. But who ever said following Jesus would be easy?

Do you have an example from your life of this true, sacrificial love? For me it would be my parents. Of course they displayed it to me as a child, but that is not what I am talking about. The love I am speaking about was their love for each other, especially my father's love for my mother. My mother got an infection in her heart when I was a kid, eventually leading to her having some extreme medical issues. A few strokes, brian surgery, open heart surgery, significant memory loss and an artificial heart valve later and my parent's love for each other is stronger. I've never asked my dad about those times, what went through his mind, the struggles he faced with two young boys, a very sick wife, and barely enough money to cover the bills (not to mention the mounting medical costs). That was love, true love, sacrificial love. Do I have that in me? I would like to think so, but the thought scares me. We all are inclined to avoid pain and seek our pleasure.

Scott closes his post with this:

You want to know what's easy? Scott's way. I don't EVER struggle with doing it MY way. No problem there. But living the way of Jesus? Now that's not easy.

So anyway... What do you think? Is it possible to display an action of love without there being any element of sacrifice involved? Is this as black and white as it seems? And if so, what does that mean for us?

My prayer is that Jesus teaches both you the reader as well as I, how to better love like He loves.

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Adam said...

I can relate... Thanks for sharing.


The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery

Eric Bryant said...

Thanks for the heads up on Scott's post. Very encouraging to hear about his parents.

Blessings to you!