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.
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.