Sunday, July 8, 2012

What does it mean to say "I Love you?"

What does it mean to say “I love you”?

I have a “chalk board” in my kitchen, much to the delight of children who visit me.  I keep a supply of colored pastels and chalk in a plastic food container on one of my book shelves near the door.
I observe that all the children who draw on my board always seem to write “I love you Lisa” or I luv U Lisa” or “I *heart* U.”

You get the idea.

I am sure that those parents and grandparents reading this blog, smile thinking of the “refrigerator art” from all the seasons, or for no reason, drawn in crayon, colored pencil, markers and painted in watercolor paint, the words “I LOVE YOU!”

Yes, it brings some sentimental smile, but what did that child mean?

Think back to your own childhood, and when you told your parents,  grandparents, or best friend, “I love you” what were you expressing?   You were most likely expressing the emotion we like to call love: a delightful, happy warm feeling, but how long did it last?

A day? An hour? About 5 minutes until your mom or dad found out you didn’t finish your homework, chore, or something you were supposed to do but forgot. Or your grandparents ask you to help take out the trash, or your best friend borrowed your favorite tee-shirt and trashed it.

Then the grumble rattled in your head and you spoke out loud the words, “You’re mean” or “I don’t like you anymore” even to the point of the whiney rant “I hate you!”

“Yes dears” I think as the children draw the hearts and rainbows on my board “I hope one day you really learn what love is.” 

Love is not an emotion…but it can be emotional.

Love is not having sex…but it is supposed to be a blessed part of a marriage.

Love is not expensive stuff, or fancy cloths…things all break, get old, tear, wear out or rot.

Love is something that humanity in our fallen-ness is actually incapable of.

Love is the sacrifice that Jesus gave of himself. To pour out his blood and die on a cross so that we could be saved. To pay the awful price of our love-less rebellion, in order to bring real love back into the world, and then he rose from the dead to prove that the battle was won and the price was paid.

“Be gracious to me, O God, according to your Lovingkindnesses; according to the greatness of your compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  Against you, you alone have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” (Psalm 51:1-4)
“…the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

“For God  did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but , but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17)

“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!...” (Romans 7:24-25)

“…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

Asking for forgiveness is only the beginning, Asking for salvation is only the start: this is you as a young child drawing hearts on the chalk board, with big puffy clouds and rainbows "Jesus I Love You!"

And I'm sure he just smiles.

Then when we surrender to God, Love is poured into our hearts, healing the old wounds caused by other love-less people.

 Healing feels good and having real love is wonderful.

The drawings that we make on the chalk board get a little more complicated, but still this new life is wonderful, safe, warm, comfortable.

You learn to worship with others, and the fellowship at church is great!

Then when those wounds heal, we learn to surrender a little more, open up more…Love is only love when it is given: from God to us, but then from us to others.

If the two great commandments Jesus gave us are:

1.   Love God with the entirety of our being, and
2.   Love your neighbor as yourself.
We can’t do either…not without surrender.

Surrender your heart.

Surrender your soul.

Surrender your will...and begin the process, that over time God will clean out the  old garbage  in  your soul, and strengthen you for this long, tough, hard journey he has places you on.

If you are willing to give up the puffy clouds, rainbows and hearts drawn on the chalk board, take up your cross…And really follow Jesus. Are you willing to understand what it means when Jesus says "I love you" and let him show you how to say that to your neighbor, friend, spouse...and mean it, live it, act it.

To begin to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.

So, who’s ready to join me?

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