Yes I am writing a blog post while I’m on vacation in Hawaii. Some people might think thats crazy. But one of the things that I really love about being here is the fact that my mind is so free and relaxed, and is placed in a context within which I can think carefully and honestly through the issues in my life. So here I am, sitting on the beach, under the amazing night sky, listening to the waves crash on the sandy shore, and clicking away at my laptop.
Lately I have found myself thinking on the love of Christ quite a bit, and a find myself realizing things that I have not noticed before. I think that as christians, we often times miss the depth of the love of Christ because we often forget how hard we are to love.
Often times when we think of Christ’s love for us, we think of how he gave himself for us, and how we have so joyfully accepted him, and trusted him with our lives, and how amazing it is that we now live a life knowing him and rejoicing in him. In this new joy we see the love of Christ. It is easy to see the joyful and easy part of his love for us.
But often we do not think about the fact that because Christ has committed himself to loving us no matter what, he has, and continues to, endure a great deal of pain and suffering on our behalf. We like to think about the fact that he is all-loving, but we do not like to see the fact that WE are not all-lovable.
We were hard to love
Think about it: Christ came into this world to suffer, humbled himself, made himself nothing – all because of his great love for us. He committed himself to us, to reaching and serving our hearts, when we were living lives of hate towards all that he was and stood for.
Notice Paul’s concerning this issue –
“And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
Notice – he didn’t just give himself for us; he loved us and gave himself for us. What can be more painful and heartbreaking to see that those whom you love and give up your whole life for are hating and mocking you in return?! We were hard to love.
We are hard to love
But notice something else: despite the fact that we have loved him and have given him our lives – we are still full of failure. Despite the fact that at salvation Christ’s love reaches a new depth and character in our lives, we do not become any easier to love. Yes we give him our lives, yes we live for his glory – but we are still full of failure, lack commitment, and constantly backslide.
Do we ever think about the great pain that our sin brings to his heart? He has made us his children, blessed us with all he has, surrounded us with resources to equip us and help us grow, joined himself to our hearts – and yet, we often trade him for the foolish little joys of this world.
I think that the thing that makes this pain great is that his love for us will never let him quit on us. Therefore, no matter how often the failure – he is committed to loving us to the end, and he knows that in this life, we will always have failure. He knows that when he commits to loving us, he is committing himself to taking in the daily pain of our sins, and continuing to love us through it all.
Our laziness and foolishness and stubbornness – daily bombard his heart. Yet his love endures through all this. Our human heart might hang in the gap between rejection and acceptance for a season of life, but he endures this for us everyday. We are hard to love, yet it is to this kind of love that he commits himself for our sake. What a love this is!
If you still don’t see the significance, try it on yourself. How eagerly do you accept the idea of loving someone who doesn’t love you back? How often do we seek to serve the blessing of others even when it comes at the cost of our own heart pain? How quickly and easily do we find reason to quite loving people in our lives who do not seem to value the ‘sacrifice’ (which it seldom truly is) that we are making for them. Love is so easy when it is rewarded with praise and admiration.
But we are called to love like Christ loves. We are called to see the good of others as superior to our own. We are called to love even when we don’t see any visible personal gain or result. We are called to love even though it might cost us. It is my prayer and personal commitment to continue to be humbled by my horrible selfishness, and to continue to strive in learning to love like Christ loves.