Saturday, August 10, 2013

Loving Others

Facebook is an interesting beast. The social networking site has brought me moments that have sparked great joy. It has also at times caused me to feel loss and heartache.

How grateful I have been to get to share in weddings, babies, and fellowship with friends who I haven't been able to see in years or decades. I have an amazing group of fifty or so moms, many of whom I have never met, who Facebook has allowed me to get to know and love deeply.

But as I was perusing the profiles of my friends this morning, I was struck with one of those heartbeats that hurts. The last eighteen months of my life have carried a series of difficult life events. They say that in moments of pain and trial, you find out who your true friends are. This has been abundantly true for me. I have lost people in my life who I thought would be close to me forever.

So as one of their pictures passed by me, I was captured by a swell of pain that I try to always keep buried.

Loss. Rejection. Betrayal.

As I sat on the couch, I thought to myself, "I would have laid down my life for her."

Though I am now reminded of the verse in John that says: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13), that wasn't what struck me in the breath after my thought.

What hit me was this:

Jesus did that. 

I might *think* that I would lay down my life for someone I love, but Jesus did it. 

He died for me. He died for you. 

He died for the men who nailed him on the cross. He died for the soldier that put the spear in his side.

He died for those who mocked him. He died for those who betrayed him. He died for the people who would never believe he existed.

He died for us despite the fact that we have rejected him. Despite the fact that his very name has become a curse our tongues spit out in anger. He died for us despite the fact that we were but a promise of the future.

And what were our Savior's words as he agonized at our hands? Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

The pain I have felt at the loss and rejection of a handful of people is nothing compared to the generations that have rejected him. Yet, to his dying breath, he loved and forgave us.

There will be a day when I will be reunited with those who have walked away from my life. That day might very well be the day we celebrate eternity in the arms of Jesus. An eternity only possible because God first loved us.

In the meantime, I remain grateful every day for the moments I have to love others, and for a Heavenly Father who will never leave me nor forsake me. (Deut. 31:6; Deut. 31:8; Josh. 1:5; Hebrews 13:5)

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