Lovin’ ain’t easy. To truly give of yourself, love fully, and not stop when it hurts… that’s a tough endeavor. Far too tough for us alone. However, the Lord desires it for us and thus He will provide. Loving until it hurts isn’t enough. Why would we stop loving once it started hurting? We are called to love through the hurt. Mother Teresa once said, “I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts then there is no hurt, only love.”
And sometimes we read things like that and go, “Well hey, I’m no Mother Teresa.” You’re right, you’re not Mother Teresa. But you are John, or Stephanie, or Bill, or whoever you are. You are a beloved child of God and you are called to sainthood. The God of the universe, who created the stars in the night sky, created you and desires to spend eternity with you. The Lord’s desire is for you to get to Heaven! Surely, if you set your sights on that goal, and pursue it with all your heart, He will guide you home.
So love is tough, right? We can mostly agree on that. True love isn’t always flowery and skipping through lily fields. Sometimes love is calling you to the dirt It calls you to love in the nitty-gritty. I’m not even sure what that expression means, but I know it’s not pretty. It means to love when you may not be feeling love in return, to love when it hurts, to love when you’re scared, to love when the rest of the world has turned their back. Having trouble visualizing what this love might look like? Take a look at the cross.
But today, in your family, in your school, in your workplace, what does that love look like? I was watching ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ a few days ago with some friends. It’s one of my favorite movies, it’s hilarious! The Lord had more planned for me than a few laughs, however. Do you remember that scene when the Grinch hears the Who’s singing? There were no presents. No lights. No trees. But the Who’s held hands and sang anyway. When the Grinch heard it, he was touched so deeply. But then he feels something he hasn’t felt in a long time…well, he actually feels something! He grabs his chest and starts to groan, clutches onto a wall, and then falls to the ground. His legs are trembling and he’s confused. He doesn’t know how to respond to such a love.
Now I look at myself. In a less dramatic way, I go through this same thing often. For I know I’m called to love as Christ loves me, but it is so hard. You’ve said something to upset me. You’ve broken a promise. I want to love you anyway. It’s the nitty-gritty that I’m talking about. That’s where we as Christians are called to love the most. To love people in their brokenness, shame, and sometimes resentment. Just as Christ did and continues to do for us. And don’t worry when you feel that pain, when you know it’d be so much easier to forget it all and refuse to love, continue to love anyway. That pain you feel, much like the Grinch, is your heart growing.
Intense love does not measure; it just gives. -Mother Teresa
James 1: 2-3