|The older I get and the
greater capacity I have to love the more I find that I recognize and seek
out the love of others. I really enjoy people more than I used to. I used
to be pretty pessimistic and acrid when it came to relationships, both
romantic and platonic. I built tough walls and developed my defenses until
I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need people. People were stupid.
People were unimportant. People were too much work. Now, people fill my
greatest desires for community and love. People are what I love about life
and people are many of my greatest joys. Why?
I guess because I’m learning to love God. Maybe that doesn’t connect for you. I can say honestly that it never did for me until the last few years. So let me explain a little.
When God created Adam he was “good” just like all else He had created. Adam had no flaws, no imperfections, no “holes.” He was “good.” That’s easy enough to understand. When God does something, He does it right. But here’s the surprising part, God considers Adam and says “It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) Why? Because man was created in the image of God and God Himself loves family. In His wisdom and love He decided to share it with man. So the “good” man needed a helper and there I come into the picture as woman. It’s a warm fuzzy feeling to be needed and when I think about it, what an awesome purpose! But back to the point.
Even in his “good” state, Adam wasn’t meant to be alone. Obviously God likes company as well since he’s created how many billion people? There’s something in human nature, and it seems to me in God’s nature as well, that tells us we need each other and draws us together and to God. As we are drawn to God, we are drawn to each other. There’s a reason there’s more than one of us on this earth. We need each other. Why? Well, it’s only together that we make up the body of Christ. You, the eye or foot or whatever you are, are connected to me, whatever part I am and we minister to one another. The foot needs the eye to tell it where it’s going and the eye needs the foot to go anywhere at all.
Sometimes it’s not enough to pray or read a scripture. Sometimes the grief or the heartache or the struggle is bigger than us and more than we can handle. That’s where we come in. Not we as in the designated committee that hugs people, but we as in each other; everyone. You, me, the person that sits next to you in church, it’s our line in the play of life. We are the arms of God that hold and carry, we are the hands that heal and build, we are the ears that listen, the eyes that take in the disaster and we are the feet that run to embrace. It’s not easy to feel the presence of God if you’ve never felt the hand of a friend holding yours. You know love when you know God and you know God when you love people.
I think John Ortberg puts it best in his book, Everybody’s Normal Till You Get To Know Them, when he says “People who don’t love people can’t love God, just as people who don’t know the multiplication table can’t do algebra.” If you know the love, the boundless grace and mercy of God, you’re going to want to share it because one heart can’t contain it all. Somewhere in our makeup there is a little mechanism that says “Share. Connect. Love.” and the way it works is it’s directly connected to all aspects of life; spiritual, physical and emotional. So if you’re not exercising it with people chances are high that it’s not working at all.
My last thought to leave you with is the
famous John 15:13, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down
his life for his friends.” The greatest love a man can possess is the self-sacrificing
love for his friends. This subject affects every area in life and I can’t
cover it all in one article so I’ll highly suggest reading Everybody’s
Normal Till You Get To Know Them by John Ortberg and John 15.