What would it look like if we let love win in our day?
It was a question I spilled out in conversation recently. And I perhaps it means we need to ponder what that looks like exactly to really answer it well. But truly, what does love in action look like? Real love… worn out and spilled out on all instead of only a few. What if Love was the action that amplified the way we see and give out grace to others?
I think it may just look a lot like Jesus and it inspires me to do more… love better… try harder.
“This love, this Christian love which shines down on the misery we make, and into our dark hearts that make it: irradiating all, uniting all, making all of one stupendous harmony. “- Malcolm Muggeridge
Muggeridge wrote about a life of one who loved others well because she loved God first. He was speaking about the life of Mother Teresa and her work in Calcutta, of course. As a vendor of words, I was convicted by the image of how we need to love the unlovable and the incurable and the unwanted and the breaking souls in our journey. Not because of her, but because of who she loved… because she wanted to put on Jesus and let Him be seen instead of herself. And that, moved me. It moved him as well…to see the ragged and the left out tended to as if their lives were royal. And it created a lot of conversation around my own table, about what it looks like to love others well… to let love win in spite of being right and being first. Because Christ reminded us to love God first… with all of our heart and soul and mind, and then because of that… we can and should, truly, love one another.
I want to be one who loves well. I want to do better at this.
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
I have been thinking about stories a lot. The way our lives bend and wind around one another and the way they mesh together leaving the residue of living all over one another. And I am sure that this journey is meant to be profoundly different that sometimes it looks. I don’t know… but I have to believe that the rich red grace spilled out on a was not shed so I can just have a get out of jail free card. It isn’t an insurance policy for my future address. It is full of power to enable us to live the love walk on purpose, successfully.
But love is costly. And sometimes I am not sure I have the right currency to spend. Sometimes I have depleted the whole of my account in wasted living and reckless giving. Like when my time and my energy is spent needlessly and my response is lacking grace. Those days when my rushing and my running are so far ahead of my actual position and I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Those are the days where I fail at this love thing.
Love in action reaches down and sees a need and spills resurrection life all over it. It stops right in the middle of the journey to hear the one crying out on the side of the road begging to be seen and heard and touched. It picks up mud and spits hope and promise all together and removes the blindness that our earth-bound dreaming creates.
Because we tend to forget in our pursuing and our pressing on and in and up that we are being pursued with ra reckless kind of love. A love that leaves 99 to find 1. A love that steps out of heaven to put on humanity in order to win back what was lost. A love that abandons the world’s way in order to find The Way.
We fail to see the power of a hand reaching back to help someone just because they breathe air. We ignore the side of the road whimper of one that is different because we have an agenda to keep. We choose to judge rather than extend forgiveness we have been given.
We miss the mandate that Christian love is an unexplainable grace, lifting us up to the level of transcendent loving, where we love the unlovable, we forgive the unforgivable, we embrace the undesirable, we believe the unbelievable.
Love in action changes my perspective on people and makes me see them as souls. Because every human on our journey is a potential seed-carrier for salvation. Every single one was made to receive the grace of God in the gift of salvation. Every single one has a value. Apart from love we can forget that when we don’t always have to agree to be united. That we can sit across tables divided and still grow grace. Without love our regret holds bitterness and our words bite deep.
God wants me to love the ones I don’t understand, to get to know their names. To invite them to do things with me. To go and find the ones everyone has shunned and turned away. To see them as my neighbors even if we are in totally different places. You’ll be able to spot the people who are becoming love because they want to build kingdoms, not castles. They fill their lives with people who don’t look like them or act like them or even believe the same things as them. They treat them with love and respect and are more eager to learn from them than presume they have something to teach. – Bob Goff
It changes the standard. It is a catalyst for grace.
Because when we actively choose… when we make loving others a goal that does not depend upon ourselves, we change the focus. We no longer serve for self but for others. We diminish our need to please when we pursue people instead of things. We exit the race for more when we let love win.
As a church we need to do this better. As a person, I need to do this better.
Because as Malcolm Muggeridge writes, love is…”the only equality there is on earth and it cannot be embodied in laws; enforced by coercion, or promoted by protests and upheaval.’ And like the rain that falls on the just and unjust, the rich and poor, and all the inhabitants of the earth… so does God’s love fall like a misty vapor soaking deep into crevices and cracks that the world marks us with. The living that changes us and bends us and breaks us can be met by the overwhelming all-consuming mercy that is His love shed abroad in our hearts by His Holy Spirit. (Rom 5:5)
And it’s what we all need to bleed grace into our worlds.
Obviously, grace is one of my favorite words. I collect those moments stamped by His mercy, kindness and compassion like it is my job and share them here with you. But LOVE is a mandate I want to keep close, too. A collection I want to keep and dispense like the treasure it is meant to be.
Because just like those of us who love to lean into the Truth of His Word and let that be our confession, longing to be truth-talkers who are grace-givers, we have to let love win in our conversations and in our relationships and in our dealings with the breaking and the weeping, too. We need to look close at heart of His message to first learn how to love God with all that we are so that in turn we can love one another. It’s how we collect those #gracemoments… it’s a gospel way of grace.
What if we choose love first? What if we memorized grace as our response? What if we saw the beauty of one another’s scars and chose to embrace the different pieces He has stitched into our souls?
Because like grace without truth renders is empty kindness and unmet mercy… and it’s not really grace. Grace that is not first built on love is not gospel grace, it is not fed by the passion that sends the Savior out after the one away from the ninety-nine. And it is not redemptive.
What if we started a revolution of grace? What if we started restoring those foundations that build people strong and invite one another to the table He sets?
Because wherever we scatter God’s love we amplify His grace. And we need to do it more. It should start with us… I want to love better. Will you join me?
IT’S YOUR TURN TO BE A GRACE COUNTER! SHARE YOUR GRACE MOMENT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND THEN COUNT GRACE WITH A FRIEND WITH COMMENT ON A BLOG OR TWO.
If you are a blogger, link up here with a post about finding grace moments in your life or one of your favorite inspiring and encouraging posts from this week. Share your thoughts in the comment section telling me about the #Grace Moments you experienced this week. *(only 1 post per link please)*
Take time to visit your neighbor next to you, and if you want visit a few more friends on the journey. We all need a little encouragement and affirmation as we travel together.
If you don’t have a blog, you can connect with me via my Journeys in Grace FB page by sharing a photo or a comment. Or you can join the party by sharing your images on Instagram with #Gracemoments hashtag.
Each week I will try visit as many of your amazing posts as I can.This is a safe place to sit and dwell in grace together, friends. I can’t wait to pour a cup of friendship with you and take in the grace moments you have to share. Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.