In our last time together, we talked about defining love. And about how it is absolutely essential for true Christian living (the fulfillment of the Law, thing).
It is so tremendously important, that sometimes we can get the feeling that it is just too lofty for us to attain – let alone understand. It is just too big for our little hearts (and minds) to handle. It is just too deep for us to “swim in those waters.” At least, that is how I have felt, at times. When we really take the time to actually think about what God is asking of us, in loving, it can be quite overwhelming.
Sometimes it helps to think of “big” thoughts in “little” understandings. Love is huge. But if we can see it in the small things – we can “translate” it into the bigger picture. When we see love for what it really is – we can apply our smaller understandings to the greater scene.
When we think about things like Jesus’ command to “Love your enemies…” our primary thought is: “that just seems impossible.” It is hard enough loving our friends and family – how can we possibly love someone who hates or mistreats us. In many ways, a command to “love your enemies” seems terribly unfair. Let alone, something I am actually responsible to do (as is the nature of commands!).
Now, I could go all theological on you, and give you five steps to spiritual victory in the matter of loving your enemies – but would that really help? “So now we have steps to get us to somewhere that we find next to impossible to go. That’s great.”
Instead, let’s just do the simple thing. Let’s see love in actual practice, in its simplicity, and see where that takes us…
Most of us have family pets. If your family is like our family, we have a special connection with our family pets (in our case, our two dogs). We play with them. We care for them. We take them for walks (for business and pleasure). We snuggle with them. They curl up on our laps and we pet them (often for great lengths of time). In short, we see it as part of our life, to make them a part of our lives. And when they die, we shed real tears – just as we would for any other member of the family.
But here’s the real question? Why?
What do our family pets really give to us? Companionship? Yes. But there are plenty of human companions to be found. Affection? Sure. But again, there are humans for that. Protection? Maybe, if your pet is a German Shepherd (our beagle just runs and hides!) All the things that we find in our pets, probably have better versions with human skin.
It seems to me that we have family pets because there is a need within us to give of our selves to a creature that needs our care, and attention, and affection. We care for them by choosing to meet their needs – even though sometimes, having them, costs us (sleep [when they are sick and need constant care]; peace and quiet [when they are barking at squirrels, or at the neighbors walking their dogs at 6am]; or quality relaxing time [when they are serious about the need to go outside and do business!]).
When you really think about it, we give them so much – and get little in return (a bit like our kids, but that’s another story). But we do it willingly – purposely. We choose to do it… because we chose to bring them into our family and LOVE them.
And that is the point of love. It needs a release. And it can be released upon anyone (man or beast) if we choose to do so. Love not only meets needs – it seeks the choosing. It does not even seek a valid reason for loving – OR ever try and determine if the object of that love is worthy of that love. It just loves.
Our choice to love makes all the inconveniences meaningless. Our choice to love makes the impossible, possible. Our choice to love does not seek a reward, or even love in return – it just seeks to do what only it can do… access the very Heart of God and let it go…
Prayer focus: God, may my heart be filled with Your love… poured out to the world around me.