Sunday, October 14, 2012

Perfect Love

Well, if I wasn't 100% sure before, I definitely am now:  Theater Church is where I'm meant to be.  It is my home.

I can't even begin to tell you how good it feels to wake up at 7:30 in the morning and be EXCITED because it meant I was going back to church today.  I have never in my life been excited to go to church until today.  It is an unbelievably cool feeling.

And the  My head is pounding right now, so I don't even know how to properly explain what it was about, other than that it was on how to love if you're living the life of a disciple.  I seriously started crying towards the end of it because of the state of the relationships of the people in my family.  I still feel such a strong sense of conviction, and I hope it never goes away.Yes, I made it through 72 hours at home without fighting with Chelsea, which is a miracle in and of itself, but I didn't do it the way that I should have.  I stayed holed up in my room for basically all of those hours because I just didn't know how to deal with them.  No, I didn't fight with or yell at them, which is progress, but I didn't show them love or speak God's Truth into their lives when I could and should have.

God says that loving Him and loving others are the two greatest commandments He gives us.  The problem is that I can never, no matter how hard I try, love my family or anyone else the way that He calls me to.  It is so hard for me to love my family, possibly harder than it is for me to love anyone else in my life, and I fail at it every day.  But I'm not supposed to be able to love them the right way on my own!  I am human; failing is part of my sinful nature.  No matter what I say or do, my love will always be imperfect and fall short.

But that's where God comes in!  It is through an increasing faith in Him that He will give me the ability to love the people in my life.  That's the only way I'll be able to do it.  His love is perfect and all-encompassing, and when I trust Him with every last part of my being, He will fill me with His love for them, the 1 Corinthians kind of love that never fails.

And if I can apply this lesson to my family, those with whom I struggle the most, I can and need to apply it to all of the people who have come into my life.  These are the people who love me, who hate me, who hurt me, who fail me and whom I have failed, who struggle to love me as much as I struggle to love them.  There are a couple people who come to mind at those words, but I hesitate to name them because it's really not important.  I need to face everyone with this goal in mind, no matter how well we know each other or how strenuous our relationship has been.  I don't deserve God's love any more than they do, and it is my duty as disciple of Christ to let God use to me to be His light to the world, to the people in my life who may not get that light anywhere else.

1 Corinthians 13 is such a beautiful passage.  It is the kind of love I want and need in my life, and I pray that starting now, God increases my faith so that I trust Him enough to show His perfect, glorious love to everyone I encounter.

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love."

There is someone in your life that you struggle to love.  If you're anything like me, you almost feel embarrassed to admit it because it feels like just another way you've failed them and you've failed God.  But it's OKAY.  He doesn't expect you to be perfect or not to fail, and He never will.  If you trust God with your struggle, He will fill your heart in such a way that you won't have to worry about loving those people anymore because He will love them through you and for you.  He's the only way it can happen.  If we could give out that good, honest, purely perfect love on our own, we wouldn't be living in the messed up, broken world that we do and we wouldn't be the messed up, broken people that we are.  Perfect love can only come from a perfect being, and that's why we need Him.

There's a Father who loves you so much that He let His perfect, sinless son take the pain and pay the price for your sins.  I don't know about you, but for me, it's a pretty darn comforting thing to know that He has already given me so much and is still willing to clean up my messes and give me grace in the process.

So next time you think to yourself that you just can't love this person in front of you, remind yourself that He always can.

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