Beware of the love that’s going around these days. From appearances, it looks, sounds, and feels right and true.
It whispers to us that we are seen and heard and noticed.
We are valuable and beautiful just as we are.
This love declares we are all made in God’s image, or some might say, children of the light.
With this love, we smile at the librarian, say thank you to the man who bags our groceries, follow the speed limit, stand with those who are hurting, rejoice with those who are happy, serve those in need, and give our money away to respectable causes.
This kind of love, everyone says, brings unity and breaks down walls of injustice and hate.
It’s a love that attempts to end the fighting and fold us all in together as good-hearted humans, trying hard to find their way in this big world and make some sort of sense of it all.
This love gives everyone a high five. It makes us feel understood and space to seek out the truth for ourselves.
But the more I let this love linger in my soul, the more I start to wonder…aren’t we missing something?
Make no mistake, love is all these things mentioned above, but does this love really change lives?
The love the world offers has the appearance of being risky and radical. It attempts to bring awareness and solutions to the brokenness and unrest all around us. It gives the invitation for all kinds of people- no matter their race, religion, gender, social or economic status to come and work together to make this earth a more peaceful place.
But when I work this love into my hands, it feels hollow and fragile, concocted by human ingenuity. This love entices and intrigues us, but on the inside it’s empty, without substance, because it’s missing something…someone…Him.
I see it all over these days, I see it in my own life. We’ve watered down love, until it’s clear and tasteless.
I forget that love is more than a tingly feeling, a refreshing word, a thoughtful action, or even an unforgettable experience.
There is only one definition of love and it is a person: Jesus.
Call me a simpleton but this Jesus love is the only one I know that can heal hearts, mend a broken world, or extend forgiveness to our enemies. This love is infused with the truth of a God who loved us first, who risked it all knowing He’d get nothing in return.
He came knowing that we would deny Him.
He pursued even when we would run the other way.
He forgave and forgave again when all we could do was hurl insults and break his heart.
This kind of love is still foreign to you and I isn’t it?
Let’s dare to look inside this love, gaze deep into eyes of Jesus, drill down into the heart of God, and discover the true essence of love itself.
Running thick and red with passion, God’s heart bleeds.
His heart is gushing out and giving up His life so that we might be swept up in the sea of His sacrificial, selfless love.
A love that chose to walk the road to the cross rather than march the streets to be noticed.
A love that snuck under the radar and started a secret revolution for the ragged, hopeless, forgotten ones.
A love that stopped for the one, demanded all night prayers, and engaged with messy miracles made with mud.
It’s a love so fierce and jealous that our hearts can’t help but be awakened from their slumber and apathy, perplexed by the mystery of such a romantic God.
With skin and sandals, love walked the earth, and invited us to come and follow, to leave our fishing nets, our wise business strategies, our confounded relatives and two-story homes, our steady incomes and comfort zones for the promise of new life.
This love requests our response. Will we stop playing the game, entertaining our idols, and creating our own version of love that lets each of us sit back in our sins and perils and play patty-cake with a world that is crying out for the Spirit of Life, the fullness of Love, the fierceness of a God who protects, heals, and walks with His children until they are truly free from all that entangles them?
It’s a love that holds out a hand and invites us to change, to become more of ourselves, not through giving into our fleshy urges but by becoming more like Him.
This love will leave us gasping for air, we might even feel like we are drowning, or dare I say…dying.
Jesus showed us the full extent of His love for you and me, how? Through death.
By dying for us even while we were still denying Him. (Read Romans 5)
This love you and I desperately desire, this love the world tries to concoct to meet their craving, has a face, a name…Jesus.
Jesus is love. His love wrecks our lives.
Trying to love without Him is like giving people a placebo salve for their gaping wounds, a silly shadow instead of His tangible healing presence, a warm breeze of kindness instead of a waterfall of compassion.
His love doesn’t survive on striving to make a difference, but on surrendering to the treacherous path of losing ourselves and laying down our lives.
His love flourishes in the generous giving, the secret yielding of our will, and the losing of our life. This is the soil where real love grows and starving hearts are nourished back to health, hungry nations are fed with freeing truth, and a dying world is given grace and hope again.
Beware of this Love, it will wreck you. It’s dangerous in the best sort of way.
Verses for reflection: John 13 + 15, Romans 5, Hebrews 12, Ephesians 5:1-2, 8-20
If you want to take the dare and drill down into the heart of God, check out the 40 Days of Love Letters journal in the shop for you or a friend. It’s forty days of listening close to and getting wrecked by the most dangerous Love.