I have a friend who has recently taught me a serious lesson that I think maybe we all could use – either as a refresher course or to finally let in to our hearts and souls and minds. See, this friend has taken to reminding me that she loves me – not in those words. In her own way she has let me know that she admires me (I think), respects me, and loves me as I am.
I will shamefully admit that I didn’t receive that well at first. It felt awkward and uncomfortable because this particular friend has seen lots of my lumps. She has witnessed my less than stellar parenting (read – impatience), my less than positive attitude under stress (translation – critical and whiny face), and my not so pleasant demeanor towards the end of a long and busy week (aka tired and grumpy). I’m not sure but I think she intentionally reminds me in those moments that she still loves me.
Pardon the expression but…What the heck?!
When all I can see is how I am failing to live up to the holiness expectation I have in my head, this crazy woman reminds me that I am loved. When I know I am getting it ALL wrong, she reminds me that it doesn’t matter.
I am still loved. And – the part that is a REAL kicker – I am still lovable.
At the risk of being redundant…What the heck?!
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
Love one another even as I have loved you. And how did Christ love us?
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
He loved us enough to die. He loved us when we were lumpy all over and completely as far from holy as we could get. And His love was so big that He was willing to die to show that love.
So here it is – a lesson in lovable.
#1. You are.
You are lovable. I am lovable. Even when we are getting it all wrong. Even when our best efforts fall short and our patience runs out and our lives are a train wreck of epic dimensions by our estimation. We are lovable.
So the next time someone says “I love you!” or tries to show you admiration or kindness or respect, it’s ok to accept it. Not in a vain, “Don’t I know it!” kind of way of course. No need to go purchase your light up “I’m lovable” pin. But know that it’s ok to be loved.
#2. Others are lovable. And you should tell them that.
It’s your job. More people will recognize that you are a disciple of Christ by your love than by your preaching. More people will know Jesus by the way you walk beside them and offer them a hand up than by how much you point out what they haven’t accomplished yet.
Yes, you could do that from a distance and by telepathy but some people could really use the words. Yes, it will be awkward.
But I think…just maybe…so was the cross.