Love Does Win
Guys. Something is on my mind today that was also on my mind yesterday so I think I should tell you about it.
Love does mean boundaries.
Let me explain. I am a Mom. I don't know any other kind of love between humans that is as pure as a mom's love of her children. I didn't get what unconditional love was until the doctor plopped that slimy, squishy baby on my chest.
Oh, my heart.
It was terrifying and glorious all at once. I've said it before but it needs repeating. They might as well have cut out my heart right then and there. I didn't know how it was possible to live with my heart outside my body but I was going to find out because, right there, laying across my chest all covered in goo...
was my heart.
Then, my heart began the gut wrenching process of growing up. Now, I would have to worry about my heart falling down and breaking a bone, or touching the hot stove, or RUNNING IN THE STREET AND GETTING HIT BY A CAR. Dear Lord, help me.
Love can sometimes feel like a blessing and a curse.
It became apparent, very quickly, that I would need to set up a perimeter for my heart. Doors would need to stay locked since my little heart had pudgy fingers that could now reach the door knob. Tiny things would need to be put up high because my little heart wanted to put everything in her little mouth. I would need to not forget my keys for the rest of forever because I didn't want to accidentally lock the car with my heart inside.
Then there were the grapes.
Yes, I cut the grapes into tiny little pieces every time because I didn't want my heart to choke on a grape. Why are grapes so delicious yet so dangerous?
The point is that from the get go, it was my natural reaction to set up boundaries for my babies. The thought of them getting hurt was too much for my heart..er...the hole in my chest since my heart had been extracted, so I had to set up a safety zone.
Now, here is where the love means boundary thing gets a little shady.
It gets shady because love does allow room for mistakes. It allows room for ouches and a few fall downs and maybe, God forbid, a burned finger. Unconditional love has this understanding that some things just have to be learned the hard way, through personal experience. So, love sets up a perimeter with room for scrapes and bruises and fall downs while blockading the pit of death because the little heart that love is protecting just doesn't understand the pit of death...so love understands for the little heart and protects it from that dumb pit.
Love means boundaries with room for mistakes.
We are all nodding our heads in agreement, yes? Good, I'm glad we can all agree on that point because, well, it is the next point that might prove challenging.
Love does not compromise.
Don't leave. Let me explain. When I say it doesn't compromise I don't mean the kind of compromise that picks a middle location between the two preferred locations for family vacation. That is good compromise. That is smart planning. What I mean is that love does not compromise truth. If I let them, my children would eat cookies for breakfast, ice cream for lunch and cake for dinner. In their minds it is a brilliant stroke of genius and they cannot fathom why in the world I would say no.
"But it all tastes so good, Mommy! Why can't we eat it all the time?!"
"Because, my dear offspring, if you eat those things all the time your body will die from lack of nutrition. I love you too much to let you do that."
I don't love my children less because I deny them those sweet treats. I actually prove my love for them by telling them no. Now, if they sneak treats for a meal I will not love them any less but I won't change my answer to the original question. No matter how many times they sneak treats, no matter how good it tastes, I will always tell them that this is a bad idea and their body cannot be sustained by sweet delicacies forever. No matter how they feel about it, or how convincing of an argument they make for sweets for every meal...I will not change my answer. Are you still with me?
Love sometimes says, no.
This is where we gasp in horror. "How can love tell me no?!! I like this, I want this, I think it is right for me."
Lets talk about Jesus.
Jesus rocked society with his way of doing things. Actually, he defied them. Lets be clear though, on what he didn't do. What he didn't do was change the truth. The law had been around for centuries before Jesus. I am completely convinced, and you can't change my mind on this, that God gave man the law first so that man would see that they could not ever fulfill it. If Jesus had come first, I think the people would have just been like, "What do we need him for? We've got this." Oh, wait. We do that anyway.
We tend to be an arrogant bunch.
Jesus made it plain as day, though. He said that he came to fulfill the law. In other words, he said..."Guys, believe me when I say, you can't do this on your own. That's what I'm here for." This is where I get excited and stand up as I type. Jesus didn't come to condemn the world because the world was already condemned. We weren't holding up our end of the deal, and that is that. It would have been redundant for Jesus to show up and say, "Wow guys, you've messed up big." Yes, we know...we knew...even if we didn't want to admit it. Instead, he came with one message.
"I can help."
Yep, it's that simple. Jesus came with a solution. He would stand in the gap between all we were and all God is. He would be the completion of what we could never complete. He would define love for all of forever. The standard must be really high for Jesus to die the way he did. I sure hope he didn't die for a flimsy set of "maybe if you want to you can follow me" guidelines. What kind of God would do that? No, Jesus was slaughtered because the law is big, it is right, it is holy...and it needed a bloody, gruesome, perfect sacrifice to be fulfilled. So...Jesus.
The key thing in this love thing is relationship.
If you don't walk with Jesus, talk with Jesus or hang out with Jesus, you won't care what he has to say about much of anything. Who is this guy that spouts off hate being murder and lust being adultery? Why do I care what he says?
Permit me another example from motherhood.
Like I said, I won't let my kids eat sweet treats for every meal, but, I can guarantee you wont find me marching up into another mama's house telling her kids not to eat sweets for every meal. Can you picture it?..
"Excuse me, we barely know each other, but I notice you seem to want to give your children sweets for every meal. I am here to put a stop to it."
This mother would most likely call the police.
It is the relationship that gives me permission to set boundaries for my children. It is relationship that gives me the right to speak truth into someone else's life. I see a difference in the way Jesus spoke to the masses and how he spoke to the twelve. It wasn't that he hid things from one group and not the other. It was that he had way more time invested in the twelve, and so he poured every tiny detail into the twelve, who in turn went out and literally gave their lives to spread his message.
I love Jesus. He is really all I really have. I hang on his every word, study his every move, want so desperately to be like him. I have no problem with hearing him say, "It's rough, Shannon, this business of following me." I have no problem with it because I get grace. I'm not afraid to hear him tell me what the truth is because he didn't just talk the talk but he walked the walk. I finally believe that he loved me enough to die for me, and that is that. I don't see the high standard of holy as discouraging. If anything, I rejoice in it because it reminds me that in my weakness, God makes strength. If anything, I celebrate it because only a God who cares would set up a safety zone for me to live in. Only a God that loves furiously would be so determined to make a way that he would come down here himself and conquer all the stuff that gets in the way of me putting my arms around his neck.
Only a God of love would do that.
Love means boundaries. It means we set boundaries in our relationships with each other, it means we live within the boundaries God has set up. Love does win, but not because it throws up its hands and says, "Whatever man, just whatever."
Love wins because it rescues.
Love rescues me over and over from myself. Grace does not give up on me and I don't give up on grace. Love says, "I love you right now, today, with all your stuff....and I want to help you get out of all your stuff."
Love rescues us from all the stuff
Let God love you, friend, within the boundaries of his safety zone. You are his heart, just like my babies are mine, and he wants to hold you close. Running from him will only cause him and you pain. Don't be afraid of your failure, and for sure don't be afraid to tell him the truth. God is not afraid of your stuff. He isn't puzzled over your weakness. He already conquered it and he waits for you to look at him and say the one thing that will bring you into that safe place he has set up for you...
With a big sigh, and gentle smile, he will softly answer back...
"I can help."