I have a confession to make. I feel like I can make that here with you all. It’s a safe place after all, right? Lately I haven’t been loving well. At all.
It’s not like I have been a hateful clump of flesh to everyone I meet, in fact I have been exuding joy and graciousness to perfect strangers. Smiling and bubbly, chatty and grateful to cashiers at Wal-Mart or the person sitting next to me at church. But to some people who are close to me? I haven’t been so gracious or kind. Why? Because I was choosing to dwell in a perspective that they weren’t loving me so why should I reciprocate.
Eeesh, that’s an ugly place to be in. I am not proud of that, and it actually stinks to reflect on. I was allowing my love to be circumstantial with them. That they had to somehow earn it or I would snatch it away and replace it with impatience and strife.
I felt very self-righteous in that decision. Pointing to moments of broken trust, hurtful words, and presumed intentional wrongs was how I justified removing love from those relationships. Thankfully God chooses to use means I never would have conceived to convict me, to reveal to me where I am heading and how I am choosing to represent myself and Him.
Then He decided to go deep on my disobedience by having the church sermon be on loving others as Christ loved us, for the added cherry to my conviction sundae. He knew I needed it. He knew I would listen and know, that I would apply it to my life directly in such a healing way. I am not perfect, nor will I be this side of heaven. However I cannot use that as a defense in my disobedience, in choosing not to love another that I am called and commanded by God to do. He empowers me though. I get the full love of Christ poured through me to love out of.
What a great reminder that each moment when I normally would be agitated or seek to question love of another, I can choose to pour Christ’s love out onto them. It is an opportunity to love well. After all, it’s not my will but His to do good in me and through me. So when I love well, others see Him and not me. It was not about me and it never will be. It’s how to show and be the love I have within me.
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34, 35 (NLT)