Sunday, May 24, 2009

A New Profound Understanding of Love

Today, we are headed back home! Believe it or not, I am ready to be home, but this trip has truly been a mind and heart changing experience for me personally and I have learned so much. Yesterday was our friends wedding that we attended. This trip was primarily for this wedding. We have known this friend since college, and since then he moved to Springfield to get his masters in counseling at Evangel Christian College or something that is associated with Evangel Christian. It was different to experience going from visiting and spending time with Kent, who is vastly free from any type of religious bondage to hanging out with strict and tense individuals. Though many things have changed between us and our dear friend, I could still sense the love and connection that we all shared when we were in college. Though we may not be in the same place as they are, or may not fit into their way of living or thinking, love still has a way to bring our hearts together. One thing that I have been thinking about today during the drive was the differences between compromising our desires for others compared to sacrificial love. During a conversation on facebook with Kent, a light came on when our conversation progressed.

Kent: We were made for relationship and yet it's the thing that seems to be the most messed up and pain producing, and the all too familiar operating paradigm of "win/lose" is of no assistance to us in helping us unravel the mess...that paradigm is actually at the center of the mess.

Nicole: It’s hard to come to this common ground, but if love is our first priority than compromising is not so hard... Love this Kent! ;)

Kent: I wonder if compromise is even the proper term or thing to seek? Once I read that, the first thought to come to my mind was that compromise is another activity of the realm of law. Jesus seems to be about something completely different. What he is doing in us, teaching us to love, isn't about compromise. It's about giving people the freedom to make their choices and us loving them. There is a big difference between the two.

Nicole: Maybe the word I was looking for is sacrificial? Maybe that is an even worse word... Well, whatever this is, I hope it does just what you stated... That it will give us the freedom to allow others to make their own choices and learn how to love in those circumstances regardless of the outcome... That sounds like sacrificial love, but maybe I am not understanding something right!

Kent: Nicole, I think that is much closer to how I see it. I used to be so tied up by what other people's lives/sometimes messes cost me. When we are no longer so bound up by that anymore it seems to be an indication that we don't feel as if we have the "turf" to defend like we used to in our more selfish days. We are more free to just love people. Defensive people really aren't free to love.

Through this conversation, I have truly grasped what sacrificial love really looks like. I believe that we can still fully love people sacrificially without compromising who we are or what we believe. I don’t think Father really meant love to be played out in a compromising way. In other words we aren’t to change who we are or what we believe for other people, but rather, allow people to be where they are regardless of where that is, and love them like Father loves them, who gave Himself up for them. I never once remember Jesus compromising His Father for those who are on the earth, but He gave himself for them so that they may see His Father through Him sacrificially! Letting people be who they are and meet them where they are with sacrificial love as the core reason, than I can’t find anything better! This is the kind of love that I desire my life to express in my actions on a daily bases towards everyone I come into contact with in a real and authentic way. I not only want to talk about it, but live it out daily! Learning how to live loved and loving gracefully is a constant working progress for me, but through Father, His love will work in and through my life and shine out of my actions and choices!


Sue said...

Nice one :)

We can smell from 900 paces away other people's agendas, can't we. When you come across a person who is free from those agendas and who is free to love you - it is like fresh mountaintop air instead of the usual car fumey crud people often breathe over each other :)

This is such a process to learn, this whole deal. Some days I can feel it and smell the freedom. The freedom to just be, living loved.

Other days, I realise I still have buttons that can be pushed.

Standing there in that space and saying, "Well, this is where I am today. What can I learn? God is here today too, in the Now" is like breathing some mountaintop air even in the middle of peak hour :)

Denise said...

Ah, the Journey is progressing. This posting shows a profound step towards unconditional love towards others who are in a different place than you are. I hear more of YOU loving rather than comments about others and their religious bondage. Love covers all.
Love you! Aunt Denise

Rich said...

It's like viewing a translucent chrysalis and seeing the hidden butterfly emerging out of the caterpillar, such is the wonder of experiencing Father's great love for us!

I love what John has to say about all of this, as long as I am still operating any fear, then I am not yet perfected in Love, what freedom to recognize my continual need to grow experientially in and increased knowing of His love, and in so doing, seeing fear bit by bit displaced in my life.

Perfect loves frees us honestly and truthfully say, If you've seen me, you've seen the Father.

Kent said...

It's pretty cool having been a part of it Nicole. All the praise really does go to the work Father is doing. He is doing it in me and in you. I just get the thrill of being a herald of the good news and how it is changing me...and you get to do that with others that cross your path.

The Christian religion too often makes all of this so complicated and so much emphasis is placed on everything other than relationships and life out in the real world. Not the out in the world approach of telling everyone that they are evil and sinners...but out in the world loving others as we give ourselves in relationship with them. To listen to THEIR stories is the best starting point and hopefully while that is going on (before we say much at all)they begin to see/notice something different about us. If it's not real in us and it's just a belief system that we try to convince them is superior to theirs, we are more than likely doing more damage than we are doing good.

When it's real, not only do we not have to convince others, we won't even be tempted to try. Either they are drawn to the brightness of Jesus' life in us or they are not. And either way it doesn't change what the life of Jesus in us is leading us to do...LOVE THEM.

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