Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mixed Bag

"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Love is defined by each of us based on our perception of love, our expectations of love and our limitations of love. It is a wonder any of us ever truly fall in love, live in love and die in love. In all relationships, whether romantic or platonic, we come to the table with our definition of what love looks like, feels like and should be like. Our "bag of love" is made up of past experiences, failures, wounds, but also joyful moments - it truly is a "mixed bag".

The true example of love has been given over and over in the Bible by the manner in which Christ carried Himself on earth and how God sacrificed His son. It was a love that had no expectations in return, a love for the other person, an unconditional love without limit. Not that we can ever live up to this perfect love on earth but we certainly have a truthful measuring stick. God knew love first and through His word, prayer and meditation He tries to show us how to love. He created love so only He knows what it really looks like.

Before our children loved us we first loved them. The more time we spent together their perception of love was formed by the way we loved them first. The same is with God. Virelle Kidder, Meet Me at the Well, writes: "The problem that dogs most of us is the expectation of returned love or at least gratitude. But God's love isn't contingent on our capacity to love Him back. Once turned loose, it is the only power on earth capable of changing another human life from the inside out. God calls it grace, totally unmerited love. Receiving grace can be revolutionary. Giving it is God-like."

To love like God we must love without expectations, love without conditions and love without fear.

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