February 21, 2008

Love: a Show and Tell opportunity

Last night’s rerun of Criminal Minds had a shocking ending. One of the female characters was asked out for dinner by an attractive man she met in a restaurant when she helped him with a computer problem. He talked nicely, smiled, seemed genuine, but at the last moment of the show, he said, “I’ve been thinking about doing this all night,” then pulled out a gun and shot her.

The more cynical of us quickly think she had to be naive. What person in their right mind would fall for mere words? Yet most of us have done it. Words are a main communication tool. In fact, a chart in an article about communication shows that the deepest levels of communication happen in the closest relationships and involve telling one another how much we care about them.

Yet close relationships involve more than words. The deepest relationships involve actions, even sacrifices. The more my husband and I give of ourselves to one another, the closer we become. This cannot be one-sided, neither should it be wordless, at least as long as we are able to use words. However, even if I were mute, I’m sure actions speak louder.

When I apply this to my relationship with God, I am both convicted and overjoyed. The conviction regards my slowness to tell God how much I love Him. I’m like a taciturn spouse, or maybe like Peter in John 21:17 when Jesus “said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved . . . and he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’” As in any relationship, expressing feelings deepens it, while assumptions put in wedges. God wants us to tell Him how we feel.

But Jesus also said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. . . . He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will by loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:15, 21). Obedience, which often involves sacrifice of some kind or another, is my other expression of love for God. I’m not always quick to do that either.

The other side of this is the joy of hearing God say and show how much He loves me. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 31:3, “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’” He repeats this over and over throughout Scripture.

Also, while I fit into the larger picture of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world. . . .” the last part of that verse is His sacrificial proof. He sent His Son to die for me so I will not perish but have eternal life. Romans 8:31-39 again declares loud and clear this great demonstration of His love:
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God says so and proves that He loves me. My reading today from God is Enough ends with this: “Love gives all and must have all in return. The wishes of one become binding obligations to the other, and the deepest desire of each heart is that it may know every secret wish or longing of the other, in order that it may fly on the wings of the wind to gratify it.”

Again, conviction and joy. I fall short in reciprocation, but as I realize that God gives all and deeply desires to gratify every longing of my heart, I am drawn closer to Him.

The next logical thing is to tell Him— and show Him—how I feel.


darien said...

As always, Elsie, I love reading your blog and your take on life. I learn so much from you, so thank you for being so faithful!


pssst....it was Criminal Minds, not NCIS

LC said...

You are right... I will fix it. Read todays blog and you will understand my 'senior' moment! Ha!

darien said...

you don't have senior moments my dear. Not at all. You are one of the most brilliant people that I have had the privilege to meet.....!!

LC said...

And you are so very kind!