It is not easy to navigate relationships. They are not exactly simple. Truly I don’t think it’s possible to even truly love and lay down your lives for other people unless you realize that you needed God’s mercy and forgiveness and that Jesus loved you. John 17:23 came up on a sermon today, and it hit me sooo hard. ‘ I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.’
God loved me like He loves His Son? How in the world is that even possible? It’s possible because that’s the whole reason God sent His beloved Son. Of course there is a special bond, relationship between God and His Son that I can’t understand; of course there is love and a communion between them as two persons of the Holy Trinity that I will never understand.
Love is a deep thing. It’s not just a feeling. It’s more than a feeling. When Jesus loved the world that He gave His life for it He acted in love; He even cared for people that didn’t love Him. He cared for people who were crying, ‘Crucify Him,’ because He loved His Father, whose will it was for Him to go to the cross, to take the wrath of God on our sin, and to come out victorious on the other end.
That example of love is what continues to motivate me to want to love others more. In the midst of Charlottesville, hateful speech, vitriol going across the web around politics and different views, there is the love of God and that is the only love that can supersede all of this.
The salvation Jesus Christ came to bring to sinners wasn’t …. discriminatory. Whatever your skin color or your gender, Jesus Christ came to save people from their sins.
Even though relationships aren’t simple, they are worth it to me. They are worth getting hurt and disappointed. They are worth the joy and the sorrows. They are worth the reminder that I can love others unconditionally only because Jesus first loved me. Even though it’s not easy for me to comprehend having a significant other, being vulnerable to someone outside of my family, being vulnerable and truthful with people at church about my struggles, confessing my sins to others, I know that it is why Jesus set me free. He set me free to love others and not just focus on myself.
This brings my mind back to a little precious boy named Charlie.
I remember the day Charlie came home from the hospital after almost a year in the hospital like it was yesterday. That boy taught so many of us what love looked like, unconditional Jesus like love. His family had 9 children when he was born, and it was after about a week of being outside of the womb, that they discovered he had Down Syndrome which automatically means a huge blessing.
Charlie had a year and a half of HUGE battles ahead of him, but I never once saw his family get angry or bitter at God for the trials, the valleys that God walked with them through; in fact I saw them all get sweeter. They treasured every moment with Charlie. They cuddled him, sang to him, cared for him even though he couldn’t physically do much.
It’s because they knew relationships are worth it, because people are worth it, because JESUS is worth it, because God made each and every single person, no matter what extra chromosome they may have.
I saw the sweet family live out Romans 13:10 through their time with Charlie.
‘Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.’
Their love showed me that Jesus had transformed their family into a house that was full of active, sacrificial love.
Their love showed me that Jesus’ love wasn’t based on who we were (wretched, damned to hell sinners), but on His love for His Father and His love for us. He simply loved us because He loved us.
They loved Charlie like that.
My family loved me like that during my ED. They loved me even though I would have been very unlovable.
The day that Charlie passed from this world into the arms of Jesus, into the presence of the glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was a special, sad day. I remember going over and seeing Charlie’s family, tear stained faces, and thinking that there was no moment of Charlie’s life that was meaningless. Their family was a living, walking testament of the love of God.
I want to encourage you that you might feel like hiding in a hole because relationships hurt too much, but I pray and hope that by God’s grace you could see the deep love of Christ, the forgiveness of Christ, that will enable you to see that love is always worth every single step. It may not be simple, but it is worth it.
First we have to see the love of Christ Jesus for sinners like us, and then we will see that love, though it isn’t simple, is possible through the Lord Jesus Christ and the almighty grace and power of God.
Do you struggle with relationships, with being vulnerable?
Would you say that relationships are complicated or simple?