Love Like God!
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9 NASB.
I wonder how many of us have struggled with someone that reminds us of this verse? Someone whose love is just three hollow words and a sidestep of what is good? I wonder if we can look at ourselves for a moment and see our own loveless hypocrisy? Our spiteful two-facedness? That calloused drive to do the wrong things? When I lived according to the sinfulness of my flesh, I had more self-loathing and hypocrisy than I care to admit. Especially when love is taken to mean benevolence, affection and good will; and hypocrisy is understood as insincere, feigned and artificial.
Before I understood what God’s grace did for me and still does for me daily, I had a lot of self-hatred. I hadn’t experienced the genuine love of God where I sincerely knew He had my best interest at heart. With my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Clinical Depression, I experienced cycles of this overwhelming sense of unworthiness, of being unfit to love, of being undeserving of being liked, and of not being genuinely connected to others in a sincere way. At times in my life, it’s been easier to remain sectioned off, to not engage where real feelings exist and to do all I could to earn approval. But, I learned the hard way, approval fails when we fail; and the self-loathing continues even worse than before.
However, all that changes when we start to truly understand the depth of God’s love for us. He demonstrated just how much He loves us. Christ laid down His life so that we could have a relationship, a connection, a genuine bond with God. He did this despite how we look at ourselves or each other. He laid His life down to reconnect us to the Father in the face of our insincerity, our ‘not feeling it’, our warped need to be validated by others. He endured being beaten and hung on the cross for us while we were still out there in our sins, while we were enemies and even frenemies of God so that we could discover what it means to feel loved by God, to be made valid in a way never before possible. To discover what it means to know the sincerity of God. That reality has been sinking in for me for about a year now. This past week it’s really sank in.
About 10 months ago, I heard some very talented musicians from my church do a rendition of ‘Reckless Love’ and I remember crying when I listened to it. It still wrecks me. It hits me so hard because I have been that lost sheep. I have been that out-there, empty, hypocrite and He left the 99 to bring me back. He has shown me His sincerity by being merciful and loving even though I don’t deserve it and every day I find myself wanting to be more like Him, and less like me, because of it.
Each of our stories are unique, we all have different backgrounds and different paths to where we are today. Yet, one thing is true if you are a Christian reading this, and that same thing is still true even if you aren’t, Jesus Christ loves us with an overwhelming, wholehearted love. He always has, He always will. He calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, even to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us; as well as cling to what is good and to love without hypocrisy! Why? Because He did and He does!
Will we let Him show the world His love through us?
Until Next Time,