"Will you Love them Anyway?"
We’ve all got our “things.”
It’s funny, because these things sometimes show themselves on the outside, but many times, our personal things are the ones that go left unseen or unsaid. There’s a beautiful quote by Wendy Mass that goes “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” If that’s not a hands up emoji for you, then this might not be the blog you wanna read. (Read it anyway).
I love this idea, and for the last year and a half or so, it’s been my life in a way that’s hard to properly express in a little blog. In the last couple months, our church has been speaking breakthrough like it’s already happened, which is something I highly agree with — speaking or singing a word as if it’s already ours — because in one way or another, it will become the truth and that truth will permeate our lives in a way that makes so much sense we won’t even know what hit us.
About five or six months ago, I was deeply struggling to see people with loving eyes. I was so self-focused and vain that every giggle and every side whisper I heard or saw, I believed it was about me, which I see now as complete foolishness. (Lord, have mercy) I had also — at the time — just walked through a somewhat self-imposed traumatic experience while traveling and was still working on the process of letting it go. Pretty much, at the time, all the things I was fearing were coming to pass, making it vey hard for me to look at people in a perspective that was honoring.
I was walking the church property between worship services in the fall, really keyed up about a situation I don’t even remember anymore. It was on my walk back to the building that God asked me a simple question: “will you love them anyway?”
I blatantly told him “no,” giving Him every excuse as to why I couldn’t or wouldn’t. He said “that’s okay for now, I still love you.” I walked back inside, but my choice not to “love them anyway” made it all the harder to.
Over a period of three months and through Thanksgiving Holiday, he kept bringing this question up through different interactions I would have with people or with friends, and for a couple months I kept telling Him no and He was still so covered in grace for me. He told me He still loved me anyway. Around mid-December, I eventually I cracked and began to ask Him “what do you mean?” And I would be left feeling empty with no answer.
This month something happened to me. I started opening the word daily again when on my plane flight home from Florida (it’s actually really hard for me to admit that I haven’t been in the word consistently before this month, but, I think that sometimes we can all get in that mode because we are human, after all). I have had this desire for quite some time to see how Jesus lived and loved others intentionally in His lifetime. I naturally went to the gospels with this desire in my heart and then landed on a scripture in Matthew after a week or so of reading from the start.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” -Matthew 6:22-23
It was here where he spoke to me very clearly and told me to stop and reread this until it made sense. So I did. For at least three days, I just stayed there rereading this scripture asking him “what does it mean?” And he responded, “will you love them anyway?” Throughout that week, I had been in Maine with some friends and mentors of mine. Several words kept coming up about humbling myself and seeing the other with loving eyes. By the end of that week and after a lot of hours driving and thinking about it the entire way, the revelation came to me.
If I fail to see people with His eyes and love them anyway, the light within me is darkness, and so great is that darkness. If I discredit the journey people are on and don’t offer them grace that I also receive through Christ, then that is — in it’s simplest terms — arrogance and pride. If I actively choose to not love a person because of whatever excuse I give, this is sin. All of that is wrong. If I choose to not love others through their stuff, then I am discrediting all that He has loved me through.
Great is my sin that brought Him to the cross. This revelation and repentance from that sin is truly the only thing that can shine light; not light that is of my own human accord, but of His. I must shine that light and choose to love people in my frailty, in my weakness, in my hurt, in my sin, and in my imperfection. My darkness is great, but the light of His blood is what covers it all, and what is greater sacrifice than to give up ones life so that another may live?
On the cross, Jesus wept. “Forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
I don’t know what I’m doing.
But I do know that with every bit of my imperfect being and heart that I want to continue learning what it means to “love them anyway.”
I think that returning to Him everyday with that humbled heart and spirit is a great place to start.