Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Love in Action

Let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:18

This week post Christmas, I recognized the hardest part of grief. In missing someone, what makes it so difficult is the inability to love on them. You feel all this love for the person you miss and no way exists to pour that love out on them. That is what I so desperately miss in Peter’s absence.

I see this in my Mother in Law. My Father in Law has recently moved into a full time care facility due to Alzheimers disease. Although physically present, she misses the emotional connection and deep relationship now lost. As I watch her, the little ways she can still care for him brings her comfort. She’s made him a quilt for his bed so every night he is physically covered by her love. She decorates his room to provide family remembrances and visual stimulus. During her visits, she walks with him to see that he gets some activity every day. She cuts his hair, lovingly shaves his face, physically pours out her love on him as she cares for his physical needs. And of course she oversees his care. These are the things she can still do to demonstrate and satisfy her love for him. It’s a love rarely reciprocated, but that is not required.

I read of this in scripture as well. Again and again I read the proofs of God’s love for us, each one a tangible expression, a meeting of a need, a physical demonstration- given…gifted…not earned.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) Ephesians 2:4-5

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:16-18

God’s love defines real love. All of these scriptures illustrate that real love requires action. You can’t love someone without expressing it. Love is more than a feeling. It’s even more than a decision. It is an action. It is something you DO. Reciprication is not required. The only requirement for true love is expression.

I know many people take up causes after someone they love passes. Often people become fundraisers, fighting the disease that stole their precious soul from them. Deep down it’s a subtle way to still connect with their loved one, fighting on their behalf. Others regularly tend to grave sites with fresh flowers. Others minister to others in honor of the one lost, pouring the love they cannot express on another in their name. Still others continue some action their loved one can no longer perform. But everyone must find something to DO with the love they contain because love requires action.

And that portrays my struggle. For I’ve not yet found that outlet. I know it will come. And teaching has helped some. But it does not satisfy the yearning in my soul and thus I know it’s not the full purpose to which I’m now called.

So that is my prayer for this new year and beyond. Lord, what do I do with all of this love for Peter that still consumes me? Love requires action. Show me Lord, where to express this love.

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