Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Loving

Back in the spring I was asked to choose a topic to teach for this fall's women's Bible study. For some reason, I found myself led to the topic of love; learning to love like Jesus loved by studying His life. So that is what I settled upon. And then God gave me a real-life object lesson, playing out before my eyes. I needed to be reading this book again, needed to look closely at how Jesus loved, and needed the daily practice right in my own home. I am so thankful for the sharing of others in the group and how we wrestled together with some of the more difficult (from a human stand-point) aspects of love.

Here is what I've learned about love by looking at Jesus and His life:

Jesus loved more and better by taking regular breaks to renew and spend time with His Father. I need the same renewal and soul care.

In love, Jesus knew when to say no, when to act, when to be honest and direct, and when to lavish grace. It was through complete intimacy with His Father that He was able to discern which response was needed in each situation He encountered. I need to pursue the same intimacy so I can keep boundaries and know just how to respond to the people I meet and love.

Jesus always looked at others first and by looking, He loved. When I don't look, I miss the opportunity to love.

Studying Jesus' life gives me insight into who He is and gives me insight into myself and both are needed on this journey to loving better. Learning to love is a journey. I need to give myself grace when I fail and I need to commit to knowing Jesus more so I can love more.

Out of deep love, Jesus got angry and He got sad and He knew when to use each emotion. His anger was most often at injustice; at the vulnerable being taken advantage of or the powerful unjustly using their power over and against others. And His anger was productive. He was sad when people rejected His offers of healing, grace, love, and salvation. His sadness was not for Himself but for them. I, too, need to learn when to be angry and when to be sad and what to do with those emotions. I need to put aside self so I can correctly place anger and sadness.

Jesus was completely humble and loved from a place of humility. Humility is a prerequisite in my life before I can love well. Pride and love cannot co-exist. And most difficult to accept, humility is built through humiliation. I need to be willing to endure humiliation to learn humility to learn to love well.

When Jesus loved, He took someone else's pain or shame upon Himself and in exchange the other person received a part of Jesus' honor and status. The exchange is part of loving and I need to be willing to do the same.

Jesus loved despite the outcome. He loved when He knew He wouldn't be thanked, when He knew what others were saying behind His back, and when He knew they would betray and reject Him. My love needs to be just as all-encompassing regardless of the outcome.

And even as I write this I know that I fail at love. I try but so many times I fall short. Tests to my ability to love come every day, sometimes rapid-fire. Some are easier to handle, and I feel like I take a step forward in my journey to love like Jesus. Others are more difficult. Like when my children are hurt or attacked. A recent comment against their character hurt and in all honesty, I didn't want to respond lovingly. I was angry. But after a good run and God-talk (and a God-ordained play-list), I was able to look at my own sin issues, take them to God for healing and forgiveness, to put the anger where it needed to go, and direct the sadness where it needed to go - and to respond in love. I'm still working on it. Still trying to love like Jesus loved. It's hard. But I'm trying.

Now we find ourselves back with the difficult question: What is the most loving thing to do for one who is so broken? We pray for clarity and wisdom. We pray for love.

This is my prayer and heart-felt desire for myself, my family, and all those who call themselves Christ-followers:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, 
even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, 
if you have love for one another
John 13: 34 - 35

And now, faced with the decision of what to teach during the spring Bible study series, oh Lord, let it be clear and may the real-life object lessons be easy to bear! (Yeah, right.)

No comments:

Post a Comment