First off, I am a nerd. I can literally sit down and read books all day. Give me a rainy day and a good book and I am a happy happy girl.
Recently, I’ve been focused on reading books by authors who have spent their lives running rescue shops. Floyd McClung is definitely a rescue shop runner. I’m absolutely enthralled by his book, “Living on the Devil’s Doorstep.” The autobiography tells the exciting story of him and his wife’s journeys through Afghanistan, India, Amsterdam, and everywhere in between. Their mission? To love the lost and broken.
One statement he makes in the book is, “It is easier to say, ‘Jesus loves you,’ and move on swiftly than to say, ‘Jesus loves you, and I do, too…’ because the latter demands that you take time to demonstrate and live up to that claim.”
I share the love of Jesus with strippers. Women who have been told and shown their whole lives that they are worthless and will never amount to anything. Women who have truly suffered in ways I can’t even begin to understand.
It’s so easy to tell them that Jesus loves them. He does! He has a plan for their lives and He knows each of them by name. He knows each of their stories and longs for a relationship with them. But the moment I hugged a dancer friend goodbye one afternoon and said the words, “love ya”…I paused.
Do I really love her? Is this just what I say? Do I mean it? Would I die for her?
I have learned an awful lot about what it means to love others as I’ve worked with Jesus Said Love this year. I don’t have it figured out and I will spend the rest of my life learning how to love people the way Jesus does, but the Lord has spoken to my heart in this area in so many ways.
He is showing me that real love is loving freely. It is loving without expecting anything in return. Really loving someone involves patience and kindness, even when they don’t deserve it. It is loving someone regardless of what the relationship can do for you. Real love means forgiveness. Loving someone means believing the best in them instead of holding onto their failures. Real love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Sound familiar? 1 Corinthians 13. That’s right, my little speech on love is straight up biblical and I take zero credit for it.
I continually pray that I would see God’s children the way He does. That I would see the Lord’s heart for the people around me. That what breaks His heart would break mine. That I would love relentlessly the way Jesus loves me. I don’t deserve the love of Christ. I never will. But He loves me anyway. That’s grace. That’s the gospel. That is something worth dying for.
I do love my dancer friend. It’s really hard sometimes. It takes time. It’s messy. But Paul says in Corinthians that love endures ALL things. Not some. Not the things that are easy to deal with. Real love endures all things. And I love her through it all because Christ loved me first. He set the ultimate example of love.
I’d say that’s a pretty good example to follow.