Love… such an incredible thing. I cannot fathom it, or verbalize it, or fully express it the way that Jesus does.  I think this is why I desire Christ so intensely, because of the fullness and completeness of His love.  I love incompletely and conditionally.  I desperately desire to love like my Father, but I cannot. It is not IN me except from the external given me by Christ Himself.  It’s a lesson I am continually learning – love. What does it really look like in such a fallen world?

I had an outburst today. I wanted (and to an extent a major part of me still wants to be this way) to hold onto my “right” to be angry or justified in my frustration… but alas, if I desire more so to follow my Savior, then I can’t hold onto my “rights” in any fashion…

Ever have someone you deeply trusted to betray you (or someone you love)?  Someone you deeply care about to hurt you deeper than ever before?  Ever have a friend leave you whom you thought never would because they said they wouldn’t?  Or even minorly disappoint you because they said something and did the opposite?

I’ve experienced a few of these, and more than likely if you’re a human – you have too. Broken promises, going back on their word, lip service, betrayal, fair weather friends, deep cutting… it’s all very painful, isn’t it?  All that is in me wants revenge, wants to be angry, wants to hate and be justified in my sin.  My cynicism crops up. I even said today – ‘you can’t trust any person!’  I want to hold onto it, hard – it’s what feels “right” at the moment because my emotions are running hay-wire and my flesh is at an all time high. Angry, mistrusting, cynical Brittney… ‘are you loving as I love you, dear one?’ God seems to whisper… oh yes, the whisper is so soft in my heart that it’s close to impossible to hear amongst the screams of my frustrations.  Gently, the Man I love draws me back into Him… whilst I try to fight Him still with my “but’s…” and “how could they’s”.

Oh Love… where does it exist in my heart at this point?  It doesn’t, because why?

Because…

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head,Doesn’t force itself on others,Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (Message)

And here it is in the NIV…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Praise God for HIS mercy and grace.  I tend to forget in those heated moments what LOVE is, and I lose sight of the BEING and only Person I know who truly embodies LOVE. It seems so silly and petty that I forget this, doesn’t it?  But I do forget quite often. I “like” to be frustrated and believe I’m justified, my flesh. I then go into ‘well I’ll show them’ mode (love doesn’t strut tho), or I go into my self-righteous mode with “I wouldn’t do that to them!”. I keep score and records of what they’ve done to me or someone else.  I start giving up, flying off the handle, putting my needs above theirs (me first)… I don’t put up with anything or always look for the best.

By myself, I cannot love like the description in 1 Corinthians 13. And I surely cannot be beaten to the point of unrecognition or lay my life down for my friends. I get frustrated at a single disappointment, when a person doesn’t follow through with their word, or betrays me – I am so conditional. I easily forget that I do the same things to others, and do the same things to Someone who still daily dies for me… I so easily forget that Jesus Christ laid down His life for me and the rest of the world.  That means, all those people I think I deserve to have the “right” to be angry with. While I still betray Him, Christ dies… what kind of love is this?  It is unnatural to my human capacity – it is beyond me and far greater than I am.

Love cannot come from within me except from the external Son who is in me. I cannot love out of my own capacity anymore, it fails and is wholly conditional. The only “good” or “love” in me is that which comes from Jesus… toss all the rest of me out. You take Him out of the picture, and I am a clanging symbol, squeaking gate, and the “nothing” described in the first part of 1 Corinthians 13.

Me, I don’t know how to love like Jesus loves – not really. How does Someone give up their life for someone who has beaten them, betrayed them, given them lip service, promised things and broken them, then hung them up on a disgraceful tree?  I am amazed… He is the only One I know who has the capacity to love like this. It is a Divine, Supernatural, kind of Love – it is the most intense and only complete Love there is. I’m asking God to give me that love for everyone on this planet and those closest to me – including the ones who disappoint or betray.  It’s easy for me to say “I love you” or to say that I love the unlovable… but until my lip service no longer comes from my lips, but my love comes from that which Christ has given me – it is only conditional.  I want to love like He loves, so desperately. I know it can only come from Him.

Love with no conditions – beyond the natural. That’s where I want God to take me. Beyond my petty self and into His arms and unconditional love, so that it can pour through me.

If you’ve been angry or bitter due to betrayal, struggles, other people hurting you – run into the arms of Someone who won’t ever betray you, and the only One who can fully love you. Trust in Him, if you think you can’t trust people. Let Him give you a love for someone beyond you. Get over yourself, let go of your rights, and let His love take that place. I’m still learning this… but I know I’m in good true loving hands, pierced hands!

I’m sure I’ve contradicted myself a few times – hey, I’m still in the midst of a battle, flesh vs. spirit. By God’s grace, He is still working on me. Just read the following to clear things up. God’s Word, not mine – which is always 10 billion times better. :)

1 John 4:7-21 and 5:1-5

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

 We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.