John 15: 12-13 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Are you living in sacrificial love or the guise of love? Currently our lives have been upended. Drastically changed from what we have grown to know as normal. Our comforts, our escapes, and our routines are gone. Everything we did, or currently do are now being done through a different lens.
We are flooded with information and flooded with emotion. Flooded with a desire to move and a fear to freeze. Stirred to frustration from limitations on our ability to commune or isolate. Our personal interactions outside of our families have dwindled and our focus has turned to persuading one another of the importance to isolate or commune. If you are reading this for me to give a clear-cut answer, I’m going to disappoint you. That is something I can not do. I won’t even pick a side.
We can acquire all the data, statistics, bible verses, and opinions we want, but if we lack love, we have nothing. Not just any love but sacrificial love. See, if we opt to choose sacrificial love, we bring back the importance of an individual. Both of ourselves and our neighbor.
I know. We are already sacrificing so much. What more can we sacrifice? The answer is simple. We can sacrifice our desire to prove a point in turmoil to love another. What does that look like? It requires us to lay down the life we feel the need to live for another to live. The individual who fights to validate isolation is being unloving to those suffering mentally and emotionally through isolation. The individual who fights to gather and eliminate isolation is being unloving to those with health risks, with legitimate concern for health care workers, or gripped by fear.
We all desire the same thing. A return to the normal we once knew. It’s a mutual goal we all agree on. So, lets focus on that. What made our previous normal great? Personally, I believe it’s because we all found it easier to express love for one another. We were able to experience it from others, through others, and give it easily. It was a very basic love. Not necessarily a sacrificial love. The cost to love was inexpensive because it required little sacrifice. We didn’t have to lay down our life to love one another.
I’ve learned through this to love differently. Take my son for instance. I would try and push him to do things outside or to help me with things. I couldn’t stand the Xbox time. I would give him examples of what it does to attitude, health, school, wasting time ect. You as parents know exactly what I’m talking about. I may have been right in all those aspects, but I wasn’t doing it out of love and wasn’t being loving. I recently started playing games with him. Seeing the joy in him and the changes through that time, showed me I was no longer trying to prove a point I was sacrificing my thoughts and opinions to love. Yes, I had to swallow my pride and condone something I didn’t like or agree with, but the difference is worth it. I have a renewed and stronger relationship with him from it.
The same applies to everything. The guise of love is dangerous. It blinds us from seeing damage we are doing by not sacrificing ourselves and ideologies first. Once we make that shift in our view on what love is, we are able to reconnect in a way that exceeds our previous norm. Think about it.
If we die to the idea of isolation is the only way, we can love those and find ways to create safe community for those who need it. If we die to the idea of isolation, we can find a way protect, use caution, and love those that need reassurance that it’s taken seriously. Are we willing to die to self to love sacrificially?
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 “Love is patient and kind; love does not boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
When we truly love our neighbor by sacrificing our time, finances, and even our positions (whether right or wrong) to truly be a light in their life, we are exhibiting the selfless love that Christ modeled to us when He went to the cross!
How will you love your neighbor this week in the midst of this crisis and isolation?
Prayer: Father I pray that you open our minds and our hearts to what loving sacrificially is. That you mend relationships that are suffering and heal the hearts and minds of all. In Jesus name, Amen.
Guest Discerning Dad
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