I STRUGGLED through this week! What started as a sore throat turned into a nasty sinus infection, that I don’t think I’ll be able to shake very quickly. Last week at about this time, I looked at my schedule, saw that I had a nice long weekend, and didn’t have ONE THING in my calendar that was set in stone until Saturday. For me, this is a MIRACLE!! *insert heavenly ahhhh sound* I had looked forward to relaxing/not needing to be anywhere, doing laundry, and doing some deep cleaning! (Sad, but this is adulting, right?)
As I curled into the fetal position on Monday on my couch, thankfully I already had the day off work, I realized that this week was NOT going to go as planned. I called in sick the next two days and worked from home the last two work days, even though my mind was a fog. I was thanked on a team conference call that I didn’t go to work, exposing them all to whatever this was.
The Saturday that I actually had plans? Well, it was scheduled full of so many friends! A baby shower, coffee catch-up, housewarming party, dinner, coffee (again) & dessert! Gosh, Saturday looked like SO much fun! Yet here I am on my couch with a glass of OJ, cinnamon tea w/ honey, on my 4th box of tissues, my nose looks like I took sandpaper to it, and I’m pretty sure I have more meds in my stomach than food at this point.
You’re probably wondering why I’m giving you a rundown, huh? Well, maybe it’s because if this blog doesn’t make sense, I can blame it on sickness and drugs! But mostly because I want you all to know how much I love you, that I waited another 24 hours to expose you! haha I truly had FOMO today because I love my people, and I love doing all the things with them!!
For my last blog on Friendship + One Anothering, I thought I’d wrap it up with the command to love one another:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” – John 13:34 ESV
Notice it doesn’t say just to love one another, but to love one another like Christ loves us. In a true friendship that has humility, bearing, + encouraging, you’ve seen many parts of your friend. Hopefully, you’ve seen their genuine heart – what they are and what they are not. Truly loving someone as Christ loves, you are able to see them for who they are, and still love them.
I was pondering over my cup of tea this morning, whether I truly see people as they are or who I want them to be in my mind. I’ve realized that I tend to do the latter. Truly loving someone well is being able to stop, listen, and see them for who they truly are. No expectations. No assumptions. No preconceived ideas. No thoughts on motives. No false mask. How Andrea Lucado has put it in her latest issue of Breathing Room callled me OUT: “The truth is, I tell other people who they are all the time. I decide I have people figured out before I ever get to know them. I discern their motives and why they are the way they are when really, I know nothing about them.”
I would beg to argue that in a friendship, you STILL don’t see the ugly. Trust me. You think you may have with all the ugly crying that you may have witnessed me do, but you don’t. Christ sees ALL of the ugly of the heart, soul, mind, and yet He chooses to love us. I was reading a commentary on this section of the passage, and found that it’s not even that He knows the ugly, but He loves us for our good.
“the word Jesus uses for love is the Greek verb agapao and its noun form agape. Of the four words for love in the Greek language, this one is the capstone. 22 Essentially, it means to seek the highest good of another. Agape love sacrifices for others. It is an act of the will. It is a decision, a commitment. Love is not about your needs or my needs; it’s about God’s will. When Jesus says “as I have loved you,” He sets Himself up as the standard by which His disciples are to forever measure their love for one another. He is telling them, “I left the splendors and comforts of heaven because I loved you. I called you to be Mine, knowing full well your faults. I taught you, even when you were stubborn and closed-minded. I corrected you when you stepped out of line. I washed your feet on the way to my death. When you denied me and betrayed me, I loved you with an everlasting love. All this was for your highest good. My interest was not in myself, but in you.23 ”
Do you see that kind of love? Do you see the Humility (washed your feet on the way to my death), Bearing (I taught you, even when you were stubborn & closed-minded), and Encouraging (loved you with an everlasting love)? Christ sacrificed, decided on, committed to, put our needs first, and for our highest good. Gosh, do I need that kind of love! No human can possibly do all of that 100% of the time, and I am SO thankful for His friendship, His loving kindness.
Phew, I had to wipe my eyes… Sometimes, we just need to be reminded of how LOVED we are by Him. No matter what we’ve done, where we’ve come from, what baggage we’re carrying; if we just simply come to the Him, He loves on us HARD. When we realize how vast and great his everlasting love is, we can start to see His invitation into an eternal friendship with Him. There’s this great video out there called Falling Plates put out by Cru, and it’s such a great depiction of His love for us. Take a few minutes to watch if you have them! An eternal friendship with Him is for our highest good!! If you have no clue what I’m talking about, let’s grab a coffee – I’d love to chat about it!!
I saw Jesus in all my friends this past week. The ones who noticed I wasn’t here or there or asked how I was feeling. The ones who kept asking if I needed food delivered. The one who brought me such a kind care package. The ones who understood when I said: “I just can’t make it”. The ones who still joked with me, kept me updated, or just plain let me know that I was missed. The ones who kept helping me find remedies for all the different ailments. They showed me love in such simple ways. I have felt so loved by them.
Loving people is easy when they’re sick or going through a tough time, but what about those times when it’s hard to love people? What better example than Christ loving us so much that He died for us, for the exact things that hurt Him. Who can hurt us the greatest? Those closest to us that know us the best. Why? They know how to hurt us the most. What can we do when that happens? In humility, we can bear with them, encourage them in what they’re doing, and love on them!