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Friday, July 9, 2010

Sometimes It Takes a Whole Lot of Love to Be Hated

We have turned into a strange society. We have learned to be polite without love. We have learned the skills expected in a civil society without actually becoming civil. We know how others expect us to act and perform for our audiences. It is like thinking that your life is your own until you realize that the lines have been written for you. We aren't who we think we are. We aren't who you think we are. We are like what we think you think we are.

Therefore, we stand in line without pushing, hold the door open for the person who follows us and smile at the lady taking our meal orders. We do some of these things without thoughts of others. We do some of these things as we treat others as our servants. We do many of these things with disdain for those whom we have forced politeness upon ourselves.

We have confused politeness for love. This should not be a surprise since we have also confused sex for love, gifts for love, time for love and just about anything else that has been exchanged with us. We barter our politeness for reciprocal politeness. So often we may think that the world loves us back for our politeness. They tell us that they like to be around us. It substitutes for love. We feel good about ourselves when we think others love us.

Yet, that isn't the point. That wasn't the point with Jesus. He didn't work to get people to love Him. He loved people, but He wasn't always polite. The Pharisees didn't see the love in being called white-washed tombs. They couldn't understand that love isn't about being polite. It isn't about bartering anything at all. It certainly isn't an action whose sole purpose is to elicit a reciprocal love.

Love is doing what is best for people even when it hurts. Good parents understand this. Many good parents have heard the words, "I have you!" come from the people they love the most. They have acted out of love. Parents who are trying to win the love of their children without doing what is best for them are really in love with themselves. They want to win their children's love. They are willing to barter for that love. They will give their time, money and privileges without regard to what is good for their children.

I heard that a very wealthy man said, "I want to give my son enough that he can do anything but not so much that he can do nothing." There is love in that. True love does what is needed without regard to the consequence of the feelings of others.

The most loving person in the world will not be loved. He will be crucified.

Loving others is not about being loved by others. Its about giving your life.

John 15:13 (NIV)
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

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