Love is not just the affection of the Christian life, it is the Christian life. Love is the reason God reached out to us, it's the response of the cross, it's the reality of Christ's church, it's the result of following in the ways of Jesus. This week in our devotional readings we take a fresh dive into the life of love. As you read, ask God to strip away any hindrance to love and simplify your life into a full-bodied, deeply-rooted, biblically-centered, ruthlessly-expressed, Jesus-born, tenderly-lived love. Keep sharing and reposting the devos.
“. . . Permit the children to come to Me; . . .” Mark 10:14
For the second time, Jesus has pulled a child close to Him. Maybe because He knew the cross was nearing and He needed to be close to innocence, or, as a good teacher He wanted all those listening to know the simplicity of heart required to receive the Father’s Kingdom. Perhaps, having answered the critics’ question of divorce, He knew it’s the children who hurt the deepest.
Divorce hardens adults, but it breaks kids in places never seen. Adults learn to settle for something that looks like love. Abuse comes in many forms. Physical violence is one kind. Emotional violence is another kind of violence, one not necessarily about words. Sometimes, instead of words of affirmation, silence is used as a tool to control, manipulate and frustrate, sadden and drain the hope out of another. That’s not love.
Love doesn’t give you a black eye. Love doesn’t belittle you in front of others. Love doesn’t make you beg for your life. Love never brings the children into the fight. Love doesn’t keep a list of your shortcomings. Love doesn’t ask you to do all the changing. Love doesn’t take and never give. Love doesn’t make the abnormal seem normal. Love doesn’t ice you out.
Love believes you. Love cheers you on. Love celebrates the changes you want to make and, if you relapse back to your old ways, love goes with you. Love is patient. Love doesn’t make a show of just how patient it is. Love holds firm when fear and weakness get the best of you. Love hopes all things. Love never fails.
Jesus doesn’t ask us to die. He died for us, He took our beatings so we don’t have to go on taking the beatings. Jesus asks us to lay our life down for Him, that is far different than dying. It’s easier to die than to lay one’s life down. Laying down one’s life, means living with courage and a sense of the high calling of belonging to Him. Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do is to let go of the ones who are hurting you. It takes love to leave.
Are you in an abusive relationship? Call someone in your House Church, reach out to a pastor. Let love lead you out into safety.