Friday, December 11, 2009

The Truth: Love One Another

My friend over at Thread by Thread posted a blog yesterday entitled "Liar, liar, pants on fire" and it really got me thinking. It brought to light so many lies I didn't refute in my own life. I thought hard on this and sought the Lord for what lies I allowed to fester in my heart. This is a reflection of my answer to such a poignant question. (You don't have to read her blog first, but it would probably help, because I'm not going to rephrase everything since she said it so well.)

I was reading the other day in Psalms and noticed once again a reference to how Satan works. (For another insight into the mind games he plays read The Screwtape Letters that she talks about on her blog too.) He imitates God. Christ is referred to as the Lion. Satan prowls around like a roaring lion. For those who do not have a strong walk with the Lord, simple distractions work. If we do have a strong walk, he has to be more subtle because blatant sins will not work for us. He will often imitate the things of God to guide us off-course. Just because something looks good, doesn't mean it is. Can blogging be a good thing? Absolutely. I am spurred on daily by the select blogs I read. However, there is an infinite number of blogs I would love to read that may indeed edify me, but that would distract me from my main goal and focus every day: motherhood. If I spend all my time reading wonderful blogs, my children are missing out on relationship with me. Therefore, I limit my bloggy activities to 10. If I want to add another, I prayerfully consider which to remove because 10 are about all I can reasonably read. (It helps that most of those are not daily postings!)

In my humble opinion, I believe Satan's favorite lie is "You're the only one." How many times have we kept a struggle to ourselves simply because we felt alone in our battle? Countless. Instead, we hide it away and either pretend it's not there or that we can handle it without help. I know there are many occasions that God simply has to work something in us, but I strongly believe He intends for us to strengthen and lift one another up in the body of Christ. We are all too often direlict in our duties to one another.

I have yet to hear a woman say she has never dealt with hurt and betrayal from other women. I also have yet to hear a woman say she has never inflicted the hurt and betrayal. How many painful memories have you buried? I am not saying this simply to dredge up the past, but to help us recognize the gift he has given us in our female relationships. All throughout biblical history, Satan has attacked with force things of great promise. When Moses was born, many of his generation were murdered in an attempt to thwart God's plan. The same thing happened again in the year of Christ's birth. (I often wonder what is to come of these 30+ years of missed birthings since Roe v. Wade.) The widespread hurt and pain among women has led me to believe there is something of great promise to be had.

I desire so much to bring the healing, love and acceptance of Christ to others. Sometimes loving that much opens you up to hurt yourself, but did not Christ do that very thing? Did He not love in the same self-sacrificing way? Who am I then, to withhold my love because I have just been hurt too much? It's easy to retreat into a self-protective bubble, but I think that's one more lie. It's a lie that it's okay to withhold the love and healing of God from others because we too, may become hurt. It's a lie that it makes no difference to anyone. It's a lie that people don't notice or care. We may not always receive the reaction our flesh hopes for, but does not Christ feel that pain every day when we reject His perfect love? Who are we to withhold? It may feel wonderfully rewarding when someone appreciates and reciprocates our love and unconditional friendship, and I believe that's what God hopes for. But that is not the condition of our outpouring of love. Mother Teresa says, "If you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only love." Christ calls us to love one another as He loves us. What a high standard! Every loving thing we do matters, even if we don't see results. It is so easy to notice and remember the negative, therefore we should pour out without bounds the love and encouragement of Christ. One of my favorite quotes regarding ministry (and isn't that what love is?):

“Ministry is giving when you feel like keeping,

praying for others when you need to be prayed for,
feeding others when your own soul is hungry,
living truth before people even when you can’t see results,
hurting with other people even when your own hurt can’t be spoken,
keeping your word even when it is not convenient,
it is being faithful when your flesh wants to run away.”
John A. Holt

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
Mother Teresa

I hope you are as encouraged by I in this seeking of truth for our souls, to quiet the lies of the enemy in our life and listen more intently to the command of Christ: to love, without bounds or consideration of self.


Lauren said...

There are too many wonderful things in this post for me to even begin to think about a concise comment.

I agree with you on the "You're the only one" lie. I'll never forget the first time I read "Captivating," and wept almost the whole way through it. I just kept saying, "I though I was the only one who felt this way."

Your post makes me think of a beloved CS Lewis quote:

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable." (The Four Loves)

LeeBeeP said...

So funny that you mentioned that book because I meant to put a reference in about it. For those of you who have no idea to what we're referring, "Captivating" is an amazing book that spoke to my heart as a woman in ways that nothing ever has. (And every other woman I've spoken to that's read it.) It's by John and Stasi Eldredge. If you haven't read it, it's a must!

LeeBeeP said...

Oh, and I LOVE that quote, Lauren.