The second balancing truth I mentioned on Tuesday is this: our bodies are the vessels God works through to carry out His Kingdom agenda. That’s a tall order, but with Christ in us, it’s a miraculous possibility.
For the past 4 years, God has led me deeper and deeper into the dark, often impassible territory of the traumatized mind. Young women who are fighting indescribable enemies in their minds and trying to rise above the horrors of unspeakable abuse in their past have crossed my path, forcing me to learn to love at a new level – an unconditional one.
It is contrary to human nature to patiently and genuinely love someone who cannot possibly meet any human expectations, or contribute much back to a relationship. But there is something incredibly beautiful about watching a trampled, tightly closed bud begin to bloom. And that is the life I get to live. That is the miracle I get to watch.
The more I think about this radical love idea, the more excited I get. But there is also a sad side to this truth. We are part of a body of conceited individuals called Christians. People who live with an enormous sense of entitlement because they were worth enough for Jesus to die for them. The same people who should live with an incredible sense of indebted gratitude, willing to lay down their lives for the least.
Right now, God is taking me through a season of life where I’m learning about the joy of becoming a servant; where I am realizing the gift of not mattering, because someone else has pressing needs. It’s hard and often incredibly painful, but it’s a pain I am learning how to thrive in. It’s a loss I am learning to love, relish and enjoy. I am in the early moments of grasping what Paul meant when He said, “To live is Christ.” To be a representative of Jesus to someone who doesn’t understand Him is an awesome responsibility – and a weighty one. But it’s a precious commission that should not be taken lightly.
Honestly, I feel like I could go on for days, weeks…months or even years about loving broken people, because that is what Jesus came to do. Just this past Sunday, a friend texted me Mark 2:17 which says, “And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” But a lot of us don’t believe that in practice – right?
In the past 6 months, I’ve had some deeply discouraging and disappointing interactions with people who profess to be Christians, but believe they are completely well – and proud of it! I’m not well – and I suffer the effects of that every day in my soul! But there is good news for those of us who are in disrepair and know it: Jesus came for US. Specifically, especially, and uniquely, He came for US. The vast majority of the “Church” today believes that they are well, and proud of it. But let those of us who think we stand be careful that we don’t fall. Christ came for those who need healing. And as we become aware of our need and receive that desperately needed care, He empowers us to give it for His glory, to others. May we not forget the Lord when we have been filled and satisfied!
Take-Aways for Loving Radically:
Ask yourself in what ways your personal needs or the demands of your comfort zone get in the way of loving people radically – especially those who impersonate Judas.
What is radical love for you? Sacrifice is a key element. If the love you give to others never costs you, and never hurts, it’s probably not really love.
Do the people you love sense that you matter to yourself more than they matter? That your expectations and desires trump the meeting of their needs? Be honest with yourself, and be willing to ask them! If so, something needs to change!
By: Hannah Stelzl
Photo Credit: Flickr