“People are meant to be loved. Things are meant to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.” – Anonymous.
There is no order to this place we live in. It’s as if the world was turned on its head after the Fall – a bit like that scene in the Pirates of the Caribbean where they rock the boat so it tips over, bottom up. They hang on under water, waiting, then suddenly, the sun sets and the boat shoots to the surface, into a completely new world where the day is only just starting.
I find myself very often doing things in the wrong order, and then wondering why I’m in such a mess. First we live, then we learn – I guess that’s not what God intended when He created man and woman. The plan for perfect relationship between man, woman and God was shattered when we chose to turn away from the true, real thing, and distort it through our actions.
- Self to others
The Bible teaches the law of love; “A new command I give you: Love one another.” (John 13:34). The word ‘agape’ used for ‘love’ in this verse is defined as being “not a feeling; it’s a motivation for action that we are free to choose or reject. Agape is a sacrificial love that voluntarily suffers inconvenience, discomfort, and even death for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return.”
It is perhaps a misconception that we can only forgive if we love someone. The definition of agape shows that emotion is an irrelevant factor in choosing to love as God commands us to. Rather, the emotional aspect of love is brought about by acting and behaving in certain ways towards others. Someone pointed out that 1 Corinthians 13, as a definition of love, is simply a list of actions that we must follow.
It can be incredibly hard to be nice to someone who has hurt us, or who we don’t really like. I don’t think we’ve been called to like everyone, or to be around those people we find difficult to be around. But what if that person came up to me tomorrow and asked for my help? I have to challenge myself when it comes to true Christian love: do I ‘love’ in the right order and for the benefit of others over my own instincts and emotions?
- Self to God
God is a bit of a mystery to me. I’m sure He’s not meant to be grasped – if my small brain were to be able to take in and understand all there is to understand about God, He wouldn’t be the great God that I know Him to be (mind-blogging isn’t it!?). But I know that I cannot stand before God and honour Him if I have not accepted myself, because Christ is in me. There is a part of me that remains innocent in God’s eyes because He stood in my place and took God’s wrath. His lavishing of grace and mercy mean that I NEED to accept myself before I can worship God in an appropriate way, because if I don’t I have not accepted His forgiveness, and am incapable of forgiving and loving others.
I’m learning that I need to shake off anything that is not the truth, anything that denies this forgiveness. It’s something I need to do everyday, because the world we live in is the wrong way round, and so are we.
When we understand the correct concept of relationships, we can act in a way that promotes love rather than creates a barrier for it. Forgiving and letting go means allowing space for an expression of God’s love in and through our lives.
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? (…) As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:14 – 26).
Faith is a doing word. In faith, we worship the living God and love our neighbour. In faith, we offer up everything we have to Him, because He gave us His all. In faith, we accept Him who has accepted us.
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7).
When we understand the concept of acceptance for ourselves and for others, we can really begin to truly worship God. When we are in harmony with what God created, we gain an awareness of our own worth. Humbling ourselves does not mean to deny ourselves and devalue ourselves. It involves recognising the treasure God has placed in each of us.
People are meant to be loved, not things. Let’s not forget to do this in the right order.