Monday, July 19, 2010

Somebody To Love?

This post is kind of a follow up to my last post, Loved People (HERE). Not really intended to be a part two, but more of a continuation. I've been thinking a lot about the whole "Loved People, Love People. Hurt People, Hurt People" idea lately.

Without argument, as I'm sure many would agree, that trying to show love to someone that either doesn't care or blatantly rejects it, is often very difficult...who talks like that, it outright SUCKS. So recently I found myself wrestling with that idea and actually said out loud to God, "This is hard. I just want to love someone that will reciprocate that love!" God's response to my heart was, "Me too." Ouch...straight punch to the face. That's when He started speaking this idea of loving without expectation to me (He spoke it through a friend). The intent being that you love people without any expectation of them. Not that they'll love you back, not that they'll be grateful, not even that they'll come to Christ. In fact, not only do you love them regardless, but we should expect to be rejected or hurt, at least in the beginning.

So then I started working on theVISION series for theSHIFT (website HERE). We’re talking about: Who We Are, What We Do and Why, When God Calls-How to Answer and Where We’re Called To. In preparing for this series, God keeps bringing me back to this unexpectant love idea. This week we talked about “What We Do and Why” and God broke my heart, like His does every day, for His people.

Without going too far into detail, here’s the jist of what we talked about.

God has called theSHIFT to do three things for the college/20 something in Cheyenne (Laramie County), WY.

They are:

1. To connect with them where they’re at in life.
2. To provide a community of acceptance, where love is experienced.
3. To challenge them to grow.

After that I really struggled to put to words why we do what we do and this is what God revealed (again, three reasons).

1. We love them.
2. We’re called to it.
3. We see a need.

Reason # 3 (above) is what broke my heart. In researching the need for Christ in this area I came across a 2007 report that listed Wyoming #4 in the US (we moved from #1 in 2006) for suicides. Of those, about 10 percent were between the ages of 15 to 24. Aside from that I poured over report after report that talked about hundreds of thousands of college age adults that (self admittedly) drink enough to be diagnosed as alcohol abusers, almost half a million that routinely have unprotected sex (a quarter of which were too intoxicated to remember if the even consented), and identified nearly 2,000 that die in unintentional alcohol related accidents every year. I also read a report that 76% of college age adults admit that they are looking for meaning and purpose in life.

Here’s the truth, 76% of college age adults are searching for meaning and when they don’t find it, they turn to drinking, sex, and some of them give up looking and end it. They are hurting each other, hurting themselves and they are literally DYING for what we have! We CANNOT and will NOT keep Christ to ourselves! That is what we are ALL called to…to share the love that Christ has poured out on us without exception or expectation.  You want somebody to love?  Look around...they're right next to you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hurt People, Hurt People. Loved People, Love People. (HPHP/LPLP - Part 5)

So I haven't blogged in what seems like forever. And the last time I did blog, I was on this "community" kick and had a series of 5 blogs that revolved around what community is supposed to be. I am still on that kick and still intend to write those blogs, so soon I hope.

With that said I had to make time to write this one.

I was listening to a song by Manafest called "Wanna Know You" and there is a line in the second verse that really got me. It says, "Loved people, love people. Hurt people, hurt people." I recently read a book (for one of my counseling classes) by Dr. Sandra Wilson called, "Hurt People, Hurt People." It was about understanding why people that have been hurt continue to hurt others.

With that and for the last six months God has been really working on me about what it means to love people and ultimately Him. So that line in the song really struck me as something that is important for everyone that claims to follow Christ to understand.

Hurt People, Hurt People

I'm not actually gonna say anything about why or how hurt people, hurt people. I am, however, gonna direct this toward those that have accepted Christ's love (the secret is - and it's actually not a secret - Christ loves us all, all the time...we just need to accept it).

I get SO tired of hearing how Christ's people are "done" with someone because they hurt them while they were "trying to love them." News flash...people that are hurt are not there to love you, it's the other way around.

Here's the thing, in going in to love someone that is hurting, you have to expect some resistance. You have to expect them to be somewhat leery of your intentions, because they were just hurt. People that are hurt or hurting are that way because someone they cared for either left them (whether it be intentionally i.e. divorce/break-up or unintentionally i.e. death), betrayed them or broke their trust some how. So you have to understand that they may not be so readily accepting of what you want to give them.

We are called to love people, to comfort the hurting and even pray for those that persecute us. If you are the recipient of Christ's amazing love, you have a responsibility to give it away to others and you have to understand that in trying to love them, you may get hurt. My friend, Grant Clark, has a saying that goes, "Where there's people, there's poop." The idea being that caring for people can get messy and if you are actually engaged in their lives, you WILL get messy.

On the other side of that coin...

Loved People, Love People

If you are a person that has surrendered your life to God and seeks to follow Christ, this is you. If you are actively engaged in a relationship with Christ, in which He is pouring out His love on you, you will love people. In John 15:12 Jesus says, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." Jesus was telling us that the way He loved us was an example of how He expected us to love each other. If you are truly the recipient of Christ's love, you WILL love others.

The Bible is very clear on this point. 1 John 4:20-21 says:

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.

So, loved people, love people.

I'll close with this...How badly did we hurt Christ (and still do at times) while He was trying to love us? What if He would have given up on us because He got hurt?

I Will Love Regardless,