Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Courage of Love

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

The above verse is a very popular scripture.  I've heard it in many sermons, many life giving messages for the sinner to understand that God loved them way before they ever sinned, and that He stills loves them after.  But, as with many verses, I've never looked at it from God's perspective.  So lets put ourselves in the perspective of God and reread it.

"But I demonstrated my own love for you in this: While you were still sinners, my Son died for you."  

Um? While we were still sinners?  Do we even understand what that means?  God sat there with the wrath from His hatred for sin ready to just erase us all, He sat it aside and made a way for our escape.  He provided a sacrifice for the sin we have and haven't committed yet. He sat aside the offense, the slap in the face that sin does to the Creator when His creations turn their backs on Him, even while we were doing our own thing, angry with Him, hated Him, enjoying our sin, He loved.

How many of us would do that?

I know it'd be hard for me to do this.  So, I think the point I'm trying to make that their is courage in love.  I mean, God put Himself out there.  What I keep seeing when I read this verse over and over again is that even while we DIDN'T DESERVE LOVE, He loved.  Again I ask, how many of us do that?

We live in a culture that prides itself on having the ability to "getting people told" (which is country slang for, "telling people who it is, or telling people about themselves, or expressing a complaint---finally found the proper definition) and "don't let anybody run over you".  My my my....I don't even understand what I'm saying, all I know is that we do the exact same thing to God that people do to us.

People offend us, we retaliate.  People use us, we'll cut them off.  Dismiss them from our lives completely.  I remember hearing stories about a family member that seemingly prided herself on being able to "get a person told" like it was a good thing.  I saw it one day, when her order was messed up at the local McDonalds.  And she stormed into the restaruant and shared with the workers how inefficient and imcomptent they were because they couldn't get a simple cheeseburger right.  Which, true enough, it was simple.  All she wanted was meat, cheese, and mustard on a bun.  Another story, I was having some issues with my financial aid and some tax informaiton was incorrect, so my mom decided to call my school to see what the problem was.  She calls me back in a shorter time than I expected.  I ask what's wrong, she says that she hung up on the lady because she got an attitude with her because she was talking to her like she was stupid.  So, I asked... "Ok? Did that solve anything?"  Mom: "I'm not going to let anybody talk to me any kind of way Claude." Me:"Again, is this issue with financial aid handled?"  Mom: "Why you keep asking that?"  Me:"Because you hanging up the phone doesn't fix that I don't have enough money to be in school right now."

Are we seeing the point? My mom tried to justify that with I was just mad.  LOL, exactly.  But does getting mad solve the problem? Hey, I know we have emotions and the right to them and yada yada, but all I'm asking is does it fix it?  I remember my tire had a blow out a few months ago.  I had had a long day, serving at the church, working the youth ministry, taking kids home, and I was finally headed home to rest and be merry and think about my day.  And, boom, busted tire.  Now I have to deal with this!?

But, the strange thing about that night, it was like I was having an outer body experience and I was watching myself. I remember asking myself, "Dude, why aren't you upset?  You had already planned out your night, and now its interrupted by this flat tire.  You've been serving and working and running around all day, why aren't you upset."  And I remember my answer to my own questions.  "Life is bigger than this flat tire."

And it hit me, hard like a revelation of some sort.  Life is bigger?  Perhaps, maybe, just maybe, I was tapping into this eternal mindset thing a little bit.  So, maybe that's how God had the courage to love us?

So maybe in this verse God is saying this, "Life is much bigger than that life you all are in.  Life is so much bigger than the sin you're in, so instead of being mad, let me provide a solution.  Let Me pursue them again and show them My love.  And there's always a common saying that contradicts things like this, and it goes, "taking my kindness for weakness."  Do we think God is weak because He's kindly done this for us?


Well, from God's perspective, I see it as a strength.  It takes a strong person to love without reason.  To care without reason.  To have courage is risky business.  I mean, a very risky move.  Before He had a list of how many people would come to Him, He just loved us.  Hey, I mean He really just put Himself out there, "I know you don't deserve it, I know you're going to talk about me, say I don't exist, run away, turn away, disagree, laugh at, use, ignore, neglect, but I'm still loving first. I'm still going to send my son, because maybe, just maybe, I may get at least one person to commit to me.  Maybe one person will see my heart.  Maybe one person will be drawn by my kindness and see the strength in it."

Am I saying we should take pleasure in getting taking advantage of?  Crazy how we can so easily miss the point.  What I am saying is that God instructed us to love how He loves.  And I'll close with that.

1 John 4:11 " Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. "  

Next time you're angry with that waiter because he or she offended you, remember how you've offended God, and the courage He had to still love you and pay the bill.

If you can't say Amen, say ouch.  ;-)

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