What Are You Thinking?
Not long ago I met a woman who was preparing to donate a kidney to her father. She had been identified as a “match” for the procedure, but there were several other people who, for a variety of reasons, were ahead of her on the donation list. Then, through a series of circumstances, the others were suddenly disqualified and she was contacted to start the process of donation. She was surprised, and endured a few days of understandable anxiety, but the news she had been chosen didn’t discourage her from her brave act of love. Her love was a living example of the “agape” Jesus needed from Peter.
Love’s definition is often framed, in our minds, as much by experience as truth. This doesn’t mean love as experienced cannot be true, as is evident in the case of this courageous woman. Yet, not all experiences are trustworthy models for love.
Several days ago FBI agents arrested scores of human traffickers and rescued several young girls who were being forced into prostitution to support the sick behavior of some men attending the Super Bowl. Some of the girls who were victimized had been sold out by their own family members! Certainly, no sane person would call the horror these children experienced “love”, but there is little doubt their abuse will impact their ability to understand love for the rest of their lives.
I often counsel people who struggle with God because others in authority over them have demonstrated a misguided brand of love, or in some cases, a complete absence of love. None of the authority figures in our lives are perfect, but to the degree they are able to reflect the perfect love of God, we can sort out what doesn’t belong and see His heart.
Therefore, when we consider Jesus’ love for us, we need to do some comparing and contrasting so we don’t inadvertently project the world’s definition of love on Him. Jesus gifts us for service, but He is not a user. He disciplines us, but He is not an abuser. Sometimes He prompts us to take responsibility for our actions, but He is not absent. And while He wants us to live for His glory, He was willing to die for our salvation. What do you think of when you consider how Jesus loves you; this Jesus, Lover of our souls?