June 14, 2017

Loving the Unlovable

A month ago as I was driving home from a conference in Nashville I began to think about love.

And how hard it was to love others. Really love others. It’s easy to say it and post memes and pretty graphics about it.

Much harder to do in real life. A busy life. A wounded life.

It’s much harder to really love those whose personalities rub you the wrong way. Those who are just obnoxious. Those who exhaust you mentally.  Those you’d rather duck into the next aisle in when you see them in the grocery store people.

But you know what? That’s exactly who Christ has called us to love. It’s easy to love those who are like us. Those who pour into our souls. Those you can be vulnerable with it and share the innermost parts of your heart with. Those we can laugh with. Those we can feel comfortable being quiet with.

We enjoy loving those people. And we need those people in our lives. We have to have those people in our lives.

But what about those other people?

They are different for all of us.

For some it’s much easier to love the Muslim refugee than it is the white republican male.

For others it’s much easier to love the person next to them in church than the homeless person sitting on the street outside of church.

Some can easily love any other race but struggle with those with mental issues.

Some can love and accept the adulterer but not homosexual.

and vice versa for all those situations.

We each have a wall that has been built by biases, experiences and teachings.  But still we most love.

Uncomfortable, isn’t it? (speaking to myself here)

But isn’t that exactly who Christ has called us to love?

Isn’t that what is supposed to make us different?

Isn’t that what people are supposed to marvel at about our faith? Our ability to love.  Because our love comes from Him.

Ephesians 5 tells us “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

1 John 4 says “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”

Challenging myself today to love those that I have deemed unlovable in my heart and mind.

Join me?

(Disclaimer: Do we have to have boundaries? Yes.  Are there some that aren’t safe for us that we have to remove ourselves from? Yes.)

March 31, 2017

Love isn't easy

We as people like quick fixes. We like things wrapped up and tidy like a 30 minute sitcom. 

Loving others isn't a quick fix. It's not tidy. It's not easy. It's not without some sacrifice on our part if done with our whole heart.

But these faces? They are what makes it worth it.

When you sit in front of family and hear how their lives have changed. When you see the man who had no shoes, rags for clothes and a malnourished son and poverty spirit standing before you now with not only shoes and clothes..but a spirit of joy deep within him---that's what motivates you.

When your in-country staff lists off names of children that they tell you surely would have died had it not been for people entering into their distress--that's what fires you up.

It goes beyond material things. It's deeper than the financial help. It's bringing life and hope to others because that's what's been given to us.

We are so thankful for those that have linked arms with Hawassa Hope--some of you since the very beginning and some of you brand new. You encourage us on hard days to stay the course. You help us to see the beauty in ashes. You fan the flames of our hopes and dreams.

"The victims of injustice in our world do not need our spasms of passion; they need our long obedience in the same direction - our legs and lungs of endurance; And we need sturdy stores of joy."   Gary Haugen

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