Thursday, January 26, 2012

Whole-Hearted Love

Indications of my brothers’ mechanical abilities became evident at a pretty early age. In fact, I had the “privilege” of testing one of their first inventions! I don’t recall how old I was; actually, it is a wonder that I remember anything from that experience onward! :) But…this is how the story goes:

Someone had the bright idea to make a cart from old wheelchair wheels and scrap lumber. The picture that I have of it in my mind looks something like an ancient Egyptian cart which horses pulled. Needless to say, inventors always need a guinea pig. I’m not certain how or why I was chosen as the human subject for the experiment, other than the fact that I was likely too young to understand the potential outcome and would have done just about anything to earn my brothers’ approval.

Once the cart was completed, the laboratory for testing it was the gravel road in front of our home. In order to ascertain the cart’s speed, it was necessary to start the experiment at the top of the hill. While my brothers held the cart in place, I was instructed to climb aboard. When I was in proper position, they gave the cart a shove and down the hill I went! Faster…Faster…Faster! It didn’t take long for the inventors to realize that any future prototype needed something for the passenger to hang on to! Maybe I tried to stop the careening cart with my foot or maybe my weightless body bounced closer and closer to the whirling wheel, but regardless, when my foot hit the spokes, my leg was instantly sucked into the force! Over and over again the cart rolled on top of my body until it finally came to a halt at the bottom of the hill!

Running to my rescue, my brothers’ found their brave little sister writhing in pain with dirt and gravel imbedded in nearly every inch of my flesh and blood flowing freely from who knows where! Uncertain how to help me, they carefully carried me into the house, gently laid me in bed and sweetly tried to console me with, “It’ll be ok Bonnie. You just lay here until Mommy gets home”. My brothers meant well, but…

It seems that brothers and sisters in Jesus often handle one another in a similar way. Without thinking through the consequences of what we say and do, we hurt each other. Once we realize the terrible pain that we’ve inflicted, we are clueless how to offer healing. Consequently, we often leave our victim lying in the aftermath of our foolishness, hoping that it’ll go away if we ignore it or that someone else will come along to bring healing.

Trying to cover-up the hurt which we’ve caused with kind gestures and sweet words often feels condescending to the one whom we’ve wounded. Ignoring the pain as if it doesn’t exist is like pouring salt into open wounds. Assuming that someone else can offer healing balm which only we can impart is simply denying responsibility for the trauma which we’ve inflicted.

When we are truly devoted to others in brotherly love (Romans 12:10), we cannot rest knowing that we’ve caused someone pain (1 Corinthians 12:26). Moreover these unresolved issues interfere with our intimacy with God. Our worship of Him is not acceptable until our heart is right with those whom we’ve injured (Matthew 5:21-24).

His desire is that we be reconciled one to another. So, how do we make things right?

By paying attention to the truth,

you have purified yourselves to the point of feeling sincere love for your fellow believers.

So then, love each other wholeheartedly

(1 Peter 1:22)!

It is fine to say, “I’m sorry,” however I have found that admitting my sin and asking for forgiveness brings deeper healing for both parties involved. In saying, “I sinned against you when I said/did… Will you forgive me,” not only am I acknowledging my sin, I’m admitting to the one whom I’ve injured that I’ve sinned against them. This communicates that I recognize the seriousness of my offense. Asking for forgiveness not only expresses my desire for reconciliation, it also requires a response from the one whom I’ve hurt.

While I may not always receive the desired response, I am able to rest in Father’s nearness again knowing that I’ve been faithful to that which He has called me to.



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