Many times in life, we are thrown into chaos. The death of a family member, maybe a physical or mental sickness, the loss of a job can all take us into chaos. Love delivers us from that chaos. Love doesn’t necessarily put food on the table but it moves us to the point of security and clarity. A lot of times when we are in chaos we are experiencing an inner pain. There are times in our lives where we allow this inner pain to fester so much that it begins to govern our actions and thoughts.
Fits of rage, being withdrawn, and selfishness are all elements of lasting inner pains. These pains can never really be satisfied without accepting them and forgiving the root cause of them. Forgiveness releases us from chaos. It takes us out of the place where there is bondage.
I love that in the gospel story of the four guys who carry their paralyzed friend to the presence of Jesus, He forgives the man of his sins before he heals him. There is an understanding that before this man can be physically healed, he must be spiritually set free. He needs to be forgiven.
Forgiveness reminds us that we no longer need to be defined by the past. It reminds us that we don’t need to carry the weight of the guilt that defines us. Practicing forgiveness is a simple reminder that we can be set free. There are a lot of times in the gospels that Jesus addresses the topic of prayer. A lot of the times Jesus talks about the need to forgive others before we pray. It makes sense. How can we beg for something that we are not willing to give to others? Maybe Jesus just wants us to experience leading someone out of chaos before he can lead us out of our bondage.
This week, may you practice the seventh element of love by forgiving others and yourself. May you help others walk out of chaos and into clarity; may you be set free in the process.
There used to be this amazing couple that went to my church, Birtha and John. They were intent on making it to their 70th anniversary. They would always talk about how they promised each other that they would make it to their 70th. They were the couple that would hold hands as they walked, sit next to each other for hours and simply be content. This couple was together for so long that they just belonged to each other. This is what it means to be in communion, a deep understanding of giving and receiving. A relationship where there is a mutual benefit to one another. With this kind of relationship, you can be a world away but never feel far apart.
This is a dangerous kind of love. When you love someone so deeply that you experience communion with him or her you have opened yourself up to the potential for pain because all barriers are gone. With fear and selfishness in us, as well as the seemingly resilient human need to control another person, communion can be a constant struggle. However, allowing yourself go deep into a a relationship that allows for communion can be one of the most liberating things in the world.
What barriers do you have to communion? Is it scary to know that as you get closer to someone, your life becomes more exposed? How will you live this out?
I think that empowerment has a lot to do with parenting. It is giving someone the skills that they need to reach maturity, and it is the fifth aspect of love. As parents we do this all the time. We teach our kids new things, we allow them to fall, and we walk them through a rough patch. It isn’t that we are bad parents but we want them to one day know how to care for themselves.
My parents would often make me eat my vegetables, even if I let them sit there for hours. No matter how much I whined, the rule was that I was supposed to eat my veggies. If my mom and dad did not put the foot down and make this rule then I might be in the place in life where I think I could get whatever I want. Instead I learned that my father would not always give me what I wanted. This is huge to learn from your parents, because God doesn’t always give us what we want.
Who are you empowering in your life? It could be your husband, wife children, family members or coworkers. When you give someone the skills and ability to reach maturity you have just loved and empowered them.
Every now and them my wife and I will be laying on the couch watching TV. She will tickle me, then I will tickle here and then within thirty seconds it is an all out war. I don’t know if there has ever been a time when my wife is bending my fingers back to keep me from tickling her and I am laughing like crazy. When this happens in an off sort of way, I feel like we are celebrating each other.
The fourth aspect of love is to celebrate. To laugh, to play to simply have fun with someone is to celebrate him or her. We celebrate the people we love. Every person needs to know that they are a source of joy to the rest of the world. To celebrate is not to idealize but to accept. When you accept someone in all of their weaknesses then their true humanity can be revealed.
How do you celebrate people? How do you let others know that you cherish them and that they bring you joy? Celebrate someone today.
A few days ago my wife and daughter were at the mall food court. Emma was walking the
stroller around when she bumped another woman. Apparently this woman jumped out ofher chair and started yelling at Desiree, saying things like, “I knew this was going to happen, control your kid.” This was clearly an overreaction. The best part about all of this is that as the woman was getting upset, Emma was standing there blowing kisses at her.
The way that we communicate says a lot about what is going on in life. The impulsive anger says a lot about the way that these ladies love. The way that Emma communicates shows me how much love is in her life.
I think buried deep within our communication is the reality that we are currently living. When we are upset, it comes out in our communication and is passed on to others. When we are happy it comes out in how we communicate and is passed on to others.
Words can become flesh. Words can be translated into action.
The reality is that words matter. The things we say can make or break some people. So, how do you communicate love? How do you bring out the best in others.
May you communicate love today.