Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Loving Others, Despite Yourself

One of my favorite verses of scripture is II Corinthians 12:15
"And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved."

I'm not exactly sure when that verse became so glaringly evident in it's truth and wisdom to me, but I remember it impacting my attitude so much, that I re purposed myself to 'go the extra mile' in loving others, despite myself.

At the time, I remember having put myself 'out there' for others - and oftentimes finding myself hurt or upset at the aloof nature by which I was met. It can be upsetting to have invested in others - and to not be appreciated or even received well.

And then ... this verse.

I was immediately reminded of how Christ loves. He loved us so much, that He died for us, despite our appreciation, acceptance, or ill regard for our sin. He continues to love us through our sin. He loves despite the rejection.

That was then. 

Now? I still view that verse as the same, but even more intimate.  

Recently my husband and I were both reminded of the biblical account of Hosea through this post. How Hosea was a prophet, viewed as godly and righteous. Hosea was told by God to marry Gomer, a harlot. This was to be a depiction of the nation of Israel (symbolized in Gomer) and it's relationship with God (symbolized in Hosea). As many of you know,  Gomer continued in her betrayal of Hosea with other lovers. Her choices continued to lead her down a road of trespass - and even so, Hosea loved her. He loved her, despite the shame and embarrassment she so publicly was becoming. Finally, you find Gomer on the auction block to be sold as a slave, having been used by other men who no longer wanted her.  There stood Hosea in the crowd, and we read in Hosea 3:1 
"Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine."
So Hosea bought his wife back from the shackles of slavery. Despite her choices. Despite the embarrassment. Despite the humiliation. Despite how difficult it was to love her - 
he went and sought her out because of that simple phrase God spoke:

"Go yet ..."

This love can only be of God. 

Personally speaking - loving one who does not reciprocate that love is not easy. Whether it is a child who is non-verbal, struggles with autism or attachment issues, won't make eye contact or simply pushes you away - or perhaps it's someone who flat out refuses you, and only seems to approach you when they 'want' something - whatever the case, this account of Hosea paired with the reminder to love unconditionally has been refreshing. 

It reminds me to 'Go yet' and love though the more abundantly I love, the less I be loved.

** also, an update on Mary: she received the pathology report last week - and Praise God, it is not cancerous! Thank you for praying!**


happyhartman said...

It`s almost as If you wrote this just for me! I have been contemplating these very things for some time!


Pam said...

Thanks for this post really blessed my heart.

Jenny said...

This is a great entry. Loved reading it.