Some ramblings on loving God and others:
Last night, at Impulse, where I lead a girls’ middle school small group, we discussed the Ten Commandments and their relevance to our lives today. Our two main ideas broke the Ten Commandments down into what Christ identified as the two greatest commandments: to love God and love people. My group of girls came up with two action goals for the next week: (1) Love God by spending time in prayer, and (2) Love People by not gossiping and being the friends we want others to be. Friendship was one of those things that we discussed. What do good friends look like? They are funny, honest, and kind. They listen, they don’t gossip behind our backs, and they’re nice. Great! So what’s the problem? The problem, as all the girls shared, is that we are afraid to be real friends because we don’t trust others. We are afraid that people will gossip about us, that they will backbite, and that they will hurt us by spreading rumors. In middle school, and society as a whole, this is a very real issue. Gossiping is the plague of our society and texting, Facebook, and Twitter only make it easier to talk about other people. Thus, the girls and I talked about how gossiping is selfish and how it is wrong, even if what we’re gossiping about is true, funny, or even only slightly embarrassing to the original party. The really awesome thing about these girls is that all six of them attend the same school. They have the opportunity to develop real, vibrant relationships where they can keep each other accountable for acting on our action goals for the week, where they can ask each other, “How did you see God today?” and where they can build each other up in Christ. That is the kind of relationship that I crave, that God created us for. Yet to go into friendships expecting that is only selfish. To go into friendships willing to give that much and receive nothing in return, even the possibility of being hurt or gossiped about, is Christ’s calling on my life. Simply put, I am a failure. I am right with my girls in this. It is scary to be the kind of friend that we want others to be when we don’t know that it will be reciprocated. That is a legitimate fear, but it is still a selfish fear. True love for other people enables us to reach beyond our fears and love people regardless of whether or not they turn and hurt us. That is what Christ did for us. He paid the ultimate sacrifice, death, for our sins and what do we do in return? We go back and sin some more. Thus Paul said, “How dare you take grace as a license to sin!” The exciting part of this is that we have the ability to love others because of our love for God and we can love God because of His original love for us. Every choice that I make to love others today is only possible because of God’s love for me–what an awesome thought!