If Love had a price how much would you pay?

Posted: June 8, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

So the other day a conversation I had with a friend sparked a thought that has made me continue to ponder ever since. Lets be honest, I ponder this a lot, but extra right now. The questions asked were somewhere along the lines of, ‘Where do you draw the line in helping and loving people?’, ‘Is loving the same as enabling?’, ‘What about standards?’, ‘Can you love too much?’ and ‘Should there be limits on love?’. Now bear with me as I think out loud on the paper in front of me…

I like to always compare to Jesus and Scripture. So first lets look at the negatives…Jesus gets angry at people who are making the Temple of God a ‘den of robbers’ and turns some tables. When people were in the wrong He was not afraid to say so. Also in Matthew 19 there is the story of the ‘rich young ruler’ who comes to Jesus, decides not to change his life, and Jesus lets him walk away. Jesus offers this man everything, and the man walks away. And Jesus lets him. It must have broken Jesus’ heart, but Jesus didn’t adjust the rules to make this man fit the way he was…He let him walk away.

So there are those stories and more where people don’t always get won over with Jesus’ love. They don’t always make good choices. And we see consequences (even before death) to those choices. But there is a flip side that I think we all to often fail to see.

Way back in the Old Testament there are verses about loving your neighbor, but not just loving when it’s easy, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18)

And Jesus brings it to a whole new level when He says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-44).

We are not called to love only those who are easy to love, but we are called to love. Period. No exceptions. No excuses. Just love.

Ok, we’ll love. But how? Well, here’s a description of love according to the Bible, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Yeah, cause that’s easy, right? So when my friends make bad choices again? Love is patient. When my friends say things that aren’t the most fun to hear? Love is kind. When they get something they don’t deserve? Love doesn’t envy. When I’m doing just fine, and they could be too if they’d just try? Love does not boast. When I have different privileges than some of my friends? Love is not proud. No matter what? Love is not rude. When I might get hurt by loving these friends? Love is not self-seeking. When my friends get themselves kicked out of places? Love is not easily angered. Or put back in jail? Love keeps no record of wrongs. There is so much evil in our world and we are intertwined with it, but Love does not delight in evil, Love rejoices with the truth. Love protects. Love trusts. Love hopes. Love perseveres. I will protect, trust, hope and perseveres with and for those around me.

Sometimes it can be hard to be deceived. It hurts when my friends make bad choices and when they lie to me. But I have to keep remembering that, “To Him [God] belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are His” (Job 12:16). I have been adopted into the family of Christ, and the people making really bad choices (not that my choices haven’t been bad, but maybe theirs are more visible) are able to be adopted into the same family and we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We all were created by Christ and for Christ. I do not deserve the love I was so freely offered, and therefore I must freely offer the same love to others. Even when they hurt me, deceive me, refuse me. Because I did all those things to Jesus…and sometimes still do. But He never takes away His love from me. Who can you be loving better today? At the risk of pain and loss are you willing to try? BecauseThis is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).

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