Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Making Room in Our Hearts for Love


The letters of Paul are growing on me, but 2 Corinthians has been a hard book. In this letter, Paul defended himself against all kinds of murmurings, not from his enemies, but from the body of Christ. How pitiful is that? This man, who endured every kind of hardship to serve Christ and carry the gospel around the world, also endured criticism and plain old meanness from the very ones he served.

I came across this plea today, and it's struck a cord. "Make room for us in your hearts," Paul begged. (2 Cor. 7:2) Making room to love others is a choice we make. We can choose to hate, reject, and be mean or choose to accept, love, and embrace.

I hate to admit this, but I've chosen not to make room in my heart for a few people. As a result, I've unwittingly chosen to reject and think the worst of them, instead. 

I've seen my heart today, and I'm ashamed of it.

Who am I to reject someone in the body of Christ because they're different from me? How dare I indulge in the kind of pride that sorts people out according to how similar they are to me?

Forgive me, Lord.

Disciples who follow Jesus are all the body of Christ, whether or not they look like us, worship like us, or live like us. Jesus was very clear. His love is fierce and deep and strong. It carried Him to the cross and out the tomb, and we are to love each other as He has loved us. 

What's truly hard is that Jesus doesn't reserve this massive love for those who follow Him. He loves everyone, no matter what kind of sin they prefer, and we're supposed to love them, too, even when their sin preference is different from ours.

We're to love with that same fierce, deep, strong, never-giving-up kind of love, and it's supposed to be our default love.

Chew on that for a while.

I'm sorry to say I don't love with Christ's love, at least not often enough.  

How is huge love possible? We begin by making room in our hearts to love them. We'll have to remove the not-love mess in us to do it, but making more room for love is easier than we might think. 

Is there someone we haven't made room for? Ask God to remove what's blocking space for them in our hearts, invite love in, then allow that love to take action. Even if it's a small action, that first step of reaching out can begin a cascade of love that changes our lives. 

It's hard to change into a room-making lover of the world, but it's not optional. Jesus, the best world-lover of all, has commanded us to do it, so let's start making room to love the way He loves. 

"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Make room for us in your hearts..." 2 Corinthians 7:1-2 nasb
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