...and the greatest of these is love

"There is more hunger for love and appreciation in the world today than for bread"
Mother Theresa

We were created for companionship. We were made for love. Something within us cries out to belong. We have an inborn desire to be loved, accepted, and valued.

At some point you may have been told that you were unlovable. Someone may have said cruel things to you. Maybe you have been trying to live up to someone else's definition of beauty and you feel like you just don't measure up. Maybe you've been in hurtful relationships and you feel like damaged goods. Maybe you feel like you are "on the outside looking in" when it comes to true love.

I was reading in Ephesians the other day and came across a wonderful passage. Paul writes beautiful words of love and acceptance to the believers in Ephesus. These gentile believers were used to feeling like they never quite measured up. They weren't accepted by Jewish believers, and the non-believing gentiles thought that they were strange. They were accustomed to feeling like outsiders.

Paul writes down the following prayer for them:

"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

It seems like back then the common knowledge about the church was that they were narrow, elitist, and reserved their love and acceptance for a select few. Sound familiar?

Then Paul brings these words; depth, height, width, length. These words sound vast, and expansive, not limiting, and reserved. To me it sounds like Paul is describing an ocean. Something you could swim in. Something you could become immersed in, covered in it.

If you've felt unlovable, if you've felt damaged, if you feel like you somehow missed the boat on love, know this; God's love for you is huge. It is deep. It is high. It is wide, and long. Let it cover you. Allow yourself to become immersed in this love. This is what you were made for.

If you sense that you have somehow expressed your love in a narrow fashion, if you've acted unlovingly except to a select few, allow yourself to be used as a conduit of God's expansive love for all. Experience the freedom of expressing this deep, deep love.

My prayer for you today is that you would experience love, and that you would express love. Not sparingly, but extravagantly.

Tell someone you love them.


Cloffo said...

"It seems like back then the common knowledge about the church was that they were narrow, elitist, and reserved their love and acceptance for a select few."

You nailed it once again my friend- although unfortunately this impression, which is pretty much what I thought about the church back when I was viewing it from outside, was also part of my experience within it, especially at first. I remember well how disappointed and hurt I was when I encountered chilly unfriendliness among some who had been churchgoers for awhile and who were "in with the in-crowd." It confused and discouraged me, and took time for me to get over.

There have been one or two people to whom I've spoken about church, who were by the way shocked to hear that I was going to one... anyway they told me that they'd been shut out when they tried to join one, that both the congregation and the staff had pretty much shunned them. Perhaps it was because of how they looked, or the marks they bore of their lifestyle- but these folks were the kind who needed church the most- one was lost in drug abuse, another was homeless and involved in petty street crime, and so on. The way they dressed, their hairstyles, their overall look- these things were enough to make them outcasts from society at large and, unfortunately, from church society as well.

This is why greeting newcomers warmly is so important. Not just from the pulpit, but on a personal level one to one. And not just the staff bears the responsibility to do this. We church members need to remember to look past appearances and see the soul within- because often, the soul inside the worst looking person is one who needs what church has to offer the most.

Electra said...
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