Monday, August 27, 2007

Perfect Love

I've been thinking lately about how immature my love must be, for I'm seeing that my human ability to love is polluted with fear. Perfect love is supposed to cast out fear, not to tolerate fear, and certainly not to cause it. ;-) I've been thinking about how ironic it is that often when we feel ourselves beginning to care about someone in a more intense and intimate way, our feelings are surrounded by fear-- fear about what the other person thinks about us, fear regarding our own vulnerability. How imperfect our (my!) treatment of love can be.

First of all, I see how often I'm selfish when it comes to my relationship with Christ. How many times must He be saddened because I put other people or things first? I wonder if it's ever hard for Him to see me make mistakes because of how fervently He desires for me to be more mature and more like Him in His perfection. He must see how much more of me there is that I could give to Him, how much more faithfully I could do Him good and not evil all the days of my life (Prov. 31). I remember times in the past before I really had a relationship with Him when I was afraid to tell Him certain things, afraid of what He'd think if only He knew that I thought the last church service was...boring. It was as if He didn't know; I was treating Him as if He were under the delusion that I was a lot more flawless than I truly was. ;-)

And sometimes these things seem to carry over into my relationships with other people. I wish I didn't care one iota if I were to become of absolutely no reputation, as did the One I should be striving to emulate out of love unaffected by the world around me. I need to work on allowing Him to eradicate selfishness from within me. In my own struggles to love people like He does, it seems to be the main cause of the fear that taints. If I would only keep my mind even more stayed on Him, I'd find peace so much more perfect, peace not disturbed by emotions. I need Him to teach me to love people without caring whether it ever benefits me. I want to be able to love simply for the sake of loving. I want to love in the greatest sense of the word, in a willing-to-lay-my-life-down for the sake of my friends way, even in the every-day sense of thinking of them first and giving of myself time after time when it seems like it might be easier to just demonstrate my love for them once and for all with a single sacrificial plunge. If I allow my friendships to be self-centered, I'll fail miserably in keeping the two greatest commandments--to love God first and my neighbor as myself. I want to love in a way that doesn't seek it's own, that doesn't think evil, that isn't easily provoked, that isn't envious, that suffers long, that does a good job of covering sins, that bears, believes, hopes, and endures.

Love covers a multitude of sins.
Love leaves no room for a multitude of sins.

Help me not to fear...


Jessica said...

Wow, that was a great post! I too wish that I didn't care what others thought about me, and could focus only on what the Lord thinks. So many times I want to do just that, but my flesh gets in the way, and I end up thinking "What would people think about me?" Who cares what "people" would think.... the important question is "What would God think?"

That post was a blessing to me!

I found your blog from a comment you left on another blog. Your blog is very nice. I plan on visiting often!! :)


Anonymous said...

Hi! You don't know me, but I was reading one of your posts on the Rebelution blog (I just joined) and it so encouraged me that I checked out your blog.
This post really encouraged me! It is so true that when I fear what other people are thinking about me then it just shows me how little I love them like Christ would. It is very sombering.
So...I just wanted to say "thank you" for edifying another sister in Christ. (me! :) )
Kathleen Thomas

Holly said...

Thank you so much for your encouragement, too, Kathleen! It's a blessing to know that some of the things I struggle with are things that other people can also relate to. ;) Looking forward to reading some of your Rebelution posts!

Anonymous said...

"I need Him to teach me to love people without caring whether it ever benefits me. I want to be able to love simply for the sake of loving."

It's interesting to think about motivation when it comes to loving. I have struggled with myself over the very things you wrote about. " simply for the sake of loving." That's just it: the action ends of being the motivation. I have found that love, the ultimate motivation, inspires love. The more we do it, the more we desire to do it and the more that it does benefit us. I understand where you are coming from with "whether or not it benefits me" being that the love is selfless, but the truth is that even when we are not seeking our own we are still benefited by love.
I am a person who appreciates logic. For a long time I have pondered how to create self-sustaining energy- something you can charge up once and let it run while it creates enough energy to power itself continually. The problem I run into is that it would be of no use if it were only creating enough energy to sustain itself. It may be an interesting paper weight, but it would serve no practical purpose. This is where love succeeds. Yes, love is the action, but also the motivation. Using love to serve others and yet being motivated by that very same expended force. It creates something very benefical, very practical, and something that honors God: committment, which in itself is a huge part of (if not synonymous with) love. Love powering love and as a byproduct... love, which is contageous- spreading and growing at an exponential rate.
Holly, you are in far too deep not experience all the joys of sactification in love. The desire to seek that path is written in red throughout each of your blogs.
In my opinion, loving in truth (both God and man) is the greatest expenditure of time, energy, and resources there is.

Blessings Fellow Servant, 夏一鸣