This is the continuation of yesterday’s post: Simplifying the Commandments. If you have not read it, check it out, and then continue here. 🙂
Something was missing. I spent days thinking about how there was a dissonance between me only focusing on loving myself, and not infringing on others that left me feeling dirty. If I didn’t do harm and treated others well, is that truly God’s love? Would the best expression of love just be “Live and Let Live”?
I built my concept of manhood off of God. I believed that since God can’t lie, I won’t lie. Since God’s words have power, I would use my power for good, instead of evil. I spent years figuring out how to walk a thin line between minding my own business and helping protect those that are vulnerable.
Some people would ask advice and I’d give it. Others, I would watch heading for a proverbial iceberg, offer advice, and still see them let Jack (their innocence/feelings) sink to the bottom of the ocean because Rose (their pride) wouldn’t just scoot over. I had some deep-rooted frustration because “if the world just listened to me, things would be so much easier”. This was a perverted love.
“…walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
A lot of times, the Bible uses Jesus as the perfect metaphor for how we should treat each other. Jesus, being someone perfect and without sin, humbled Himself and lived a life of service. We are supposed to serve the world. So, if I spend my entire life-giving back to the world, that’s good enough right? Not exactly.
I felt that if I sacrificed my time and energy to help others, I would earn their love in return. You have to give love to get love right? I couldn’t have been more wrong. I stretched myself to sacrifice for others and all I ended up doing was feeling abused and empty. I wasn’t loving right.
The more I read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the more I realized I was harming myself in my process of helping others. My love was twisted because it was missing patience, modesty, humbleness and so much more. My urge to help overshadowed my respect for others autonomy and God. I had no clue what God wanted from those situations, and by me forcing my aid to them, I was in the way. Jesus healed and helped people who first believed they needed help and could be helped.
“…for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.”
Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.
How is that different from live and let live? It is the personal availability of helping and the acceptance of God creating opportunities of service versus me creating them myself. My love was corrupted by my own arrogance. I thought I knew better about how they should live their life—like my wisdom made me God. Some situations people endure are of their own creation, some are tests from God, and others are temptations from the devil. I believed I could shield people from those experiences but only God can.
I realized that my purpose as a person that loves others is just to be a conduit for God’s love. I am supposed to be a vessel. God will create opportunities for His Love to be poured out through you, but you have to be aware and open to them. Eventually, instead of you forcing your help on someone, an opportunity will arise for the people who need you most.
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
God won’t force you into something that will jeopardize any other processes He’s working on in you. You will have peace in your actions and they won’t be a major inconvenience. If you are under severe financial strain, He’s not going to force you until inconceivable debt because the pastor asked for people to give that week. Opportunities will match where you are and stretch you, but not break you.
Most importantly, whatever it is you do, the reward, whether it is immediate, long-term, or nonexistent, won’t matter. Love often comes accompanied with joy. I take pleasure in visiting my loved ones. I take pleasure in feeding someone without. I take pleasure in doing good, not for the purpose or ego boost, but because the process of love is natural as breathing. Being a conduit for God’s love automatically comes with the byproduct of joy. I had to remove myself from the situation to learn how to love right. I finally learned that the love I give to others isn’t mine, it’s the Lord’s.
How have you learned peace in love? Have you any stories of how you love others? Let me know in the comments below!
Turn Your Brightness Up!!