As the church, we’ve failed. In more ways than one. But we’ve failed to love the way that God designed us to love. Love carries weight, both literally and figuratively. Love carries burdens sometimes physically, but many times emotionally. It’s hard to understand love if you don’t first understand God, and understand the way that love was intended to look like. From creation itself, God’s love for us bleeds through the beginning chapters of Genesis and throughout the entirety of scripture, it overflows.
Love was never intended to look the way that we do it. We give love sparingly, and we give it just to who we want to have it. I think that if we lived the way God designed, there would be none of that. There would be no hesitation, or unforgiveness, or unbearableness in love. The world can sometimes be better at loving others than we as Christians are, and to me that makes no sense. For some reason we just can’t wrap our minds around the kind of love that Jesus showed on the cross, or at least not enough to show it better than the world does. The unspecific, yet completely complete, understanding love. A love that knows no boundaries, has no conflict, and is all forgiving. For us, outside of a relationship with Christ, that love is too perfect, unreachable. But the very reason that we have no concept of that beautiful kind of love is because our own sin destroyed it, our own insubordination made everything more complicated…including love. The pureness of love was destroyed by our very sin nature.
But then, where is the hope in this? If we ruined love, how can we still achieve it?
The hope has always been in the cross, in Christ. The entirety of the Bible points to the one who would give hope and who would change our sinful paths. The one who could forgive the ones that had denied Him, and show nothing but grace and love towards them. That’s what makes it a beautiful redemption story, that even though we can’t quite figure out how to love right, Jesus has got it covered and through Him, and through the Holy Spirit, we can begin to work towards His greater love. And there’s probably hundreds of passages that point to this love. One my favorite passages on love is found in John 15 verses 9 through 17:
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
There’s a lot of brokenness in this world, BUT there is hope. I will keep saying that over and over because without hope, what do we have?
I just wish my defiance didn’t hold so much power in my life. I wish I could reverse the sin path and I wish we didn’t have to live such complicated, careful lives in order to in any way attain God’s original design for us. I wish that we didn’t screw everything up. The beauty in all of this is the messiness of love. Although we did screw a lot up, there’s still beauty in love. There’s still beauty in creation, in forgiveness, in redemption, in wholeness. Why? Because of Jesus. It’s always been because of Jesus and it will never stop being because of Jesus. It’s because of Jesus, that we still have capacity TO LOVE despite our sin problem, it’s because of Jesus, that we can still BE LOVED despite our sin problem. We can only do that “to love” because we first got the “be loved”.
The challenge in all of this is to love better. Love simpler. Love more intentionally. Love always. Love all people. Love more completely. Love like Jesus. I’ve failed at this over and over and in the end I want to strive towards greater, fulfilling, Jesus-centered, God-designed love.