“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
If you’ve been a Christian for awhile, you’re probably familiar with this passage of scripture and can maybe even quote it. Before last week, I thought I truly loved people. You know the way God loves me. Well, at least I thought I was trying really hard to do so.
Love is a funny word in our culture. We use the same word to describe our admiration for pizza as we do to describe our admiration for our spouses. So, what is love? A word that is used too loosely in our culture? Yes, but more than that love is a word packed with the utmost emotion, passion, and action. Unfortunately, this same word is often paired with fear and at times regret.
A friend called me last week and said something to me I won’t soon forget. He said, “you need to love like you’ve never been hurt before.”
I thought to myself, “I do, do that? Don’t I? I mean, wait, how can you love without remembering all the hurt life throws at you?” I always thought I had forgiven people who have hurt me and simply moved on. Life happens, time passes, and that old saying, “time heals all wounds,” I guess isn’t always true.
Just recently, I’m realizing past hurts that I thought had passed along with the time have left a remnant on the way I love now. I’ve looked at love like a puzzle piece. For example, I’ll give you this puzzle piece, and I’ll carefully watch how you take care of it. If I think you’re taking good care of that piece maybe, just maybe, I’ll give you the rest of the puzzle.
That’s a funny analogy I have to admit, but it is how so many of us view love. We love people only to a certain extent because of fear that they won’t reciprocate or appreciate the love we give them. Maybe you’re like that today. Maybe you loved over and over and over again just to get hurt every time. Maybe you feel as though people have rejected and mocked your love.
Isn’t that what we’ve done to Christ? The Bible says while we were yet sinners Christ died for us…
While we rejected him, he loved us still.
While we mocked him, he loved us still.
While we were too busy, he loved us still.
So, today let’s choose to love like Christ, love without restraints or hang-ups. Love those that mock you, dislike you, and hurt you. And do it again..and again..and again. Because that’s what Christ does for us every single day.