I’ve been learning to see things more clearly. My heart, my motives, and my desires. What is love? What does it mean to be truly sincere in your love for someone? Truly devoted and committed? Are we able to love people with a relentless, pure love or do we love them with conditions? As we embark upon this journey of teaching the gospel, I had to ask myself what if? What if some of my friends never come, what if they never hear, what if they refuse to accept the true way? Is my love for them polluted by a selfish desire to see a particular outcome? Do I only give as much of myself because I want to persuade them, or can I truly love them like Christ? To love is to give, to hurt, to sacrifice. If I could see into the future and saw that their hearts would never change, would I do less, would I love less? When I sat with a group of them as they laughed and drank wine, I asked myself would it still be worth it? I think about how Christ loved us, even when we were far away, still his enemies. I think about how he came unto his own and they rejected him, and he knew from eternity past what the outcome would be. Yet he chose to still love, to weep over them and to sacrifice.
I think about my own wickedness and my daily need for God’s unending grace. I think about how many times I have failed, and yet He loves me still. I think about last year when I questioned many things, including being here in this village, with these people, with seemingly impossible situations. I pray every day for eyes to see more clearly like Jesus, that I would choose love not just on the good days, when I see progress and breakthrough but especially on the discouraging days when I feel all hope is lost, when I feel like I can’t hold on anymore, when it no longer seems worth it.
Now there remains these three things- Faith, Hope, Love, but the greatest of these three is LOVE. True LOVE never FAILS. It BELIEVES all things; it ENDURES all things. I have a greater comprehension of why Paul said, when I was child, I spoke as a child and I understood as a child. But there comes a moment when you must grow up and put away all childish things. Cast away all stumbling blocks, not just the physical but of the mind. You must make a conscious effort to no longer allow your thoughts and your version of LOVE to be conformed to that of the world.
May we KNOW it, may we EXPERIENCE it and may we SHOW it.
I find that most people at best only ever endeavor to do so for their spouse and children. Rare is the person who knows no distinction. On deeper thought, I wonder what love would look like if we really did LOVE and not LIKE SOMETIMES our neighbours as ourselves… Do we actually believe in what Jesus said?