Have you ever done something seriously stupid?
Have you ever been misunderstood?
Have you ever felt the weight of a hundred bricks on your spirit as you dealt with regret?
Have you ever felt the searing pain of heartbreak?
If you’re like me, you’ve probably experienced all of these and many more like them. And if you’ve had someone surround you with love in these times you know just how powerful the presence of love is.
Love helps to heal and restore you. It lifts your spirit and encourages your soul. It gives you feet when you cannot stand, and perspective when you think you’ve gone crazy.
I’ll tell you, I find that the most powerful gift of love comes when you don’t deserve it. When we’ve done something ugly or foolish or impulsive and we can’t shake it out of our system, but love comes anyway; it’s like grace-rain washing all the muck of shame clean off us. It’s gloriously freeing.
I want to love in a way that frees people from the muck. I know I can’t love without blemish, but I really want to love people well. People, made in the image of God, all of us wounded and struggling, hidden and weak, need all the grace and love we can get. We fumble, we give pretense, we want to control our image because it hurts and its humiliating to be found out. But what if we loved all the more those who were “found out”? What if we loved ourselves all the more because we are already “found out” by the One who weaved us?
Living “found out” is a magnificent way to live, because although humbling, it is also the most surest way to be moldable in the hands of a gracious God.
Some practical ways to love:
Use gentle, gracious words
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
Forgive over and over again
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Mathew 18:21-22
Make every effort to pursue and live in peace with everyone
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19
Love for a greater purpose
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
Real love isn’t mushy or a push-over, it’s challenging and gracious and brave. Will you join me in the pursuit to in being a person who loves well?
What are your biggest hindrances when it comes to loving others (or yourself) well?
Photo Credit: Dancing in the rain