Friday, February 19, 2010

Love each other

I think about a lot of things while I'm alone. Many times I'm trying to fix a problem I see ... and let me tell you, I do NOT have enough information to deal with potholes and icy roads, but my brain still tries to come up with a better solution. It's what I do when my mind wanders around itself.

Other times something will creep in and make me consider what I know.

This morning a verse from 1 John came into my email and I've had it floating around all day long.

"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:11-12)

I keep saying this over and over, but I don't listen to myself and I don't think we really get it. We make this thing too difficult! This whole living as a Christian thing. We work so hard to abide by all the rules that we set in place, we forget to just love. We judge others based on our ruleset and unforgiveness and anger take root before we even know what is happening.

One thing that I constantly hear from others and I've said it myself more often than I care to admit, is that God seems far away from me or that He doesn't seem to be listening to me or that I can't feel Him close to me. Maybe I think that He's testing me or holding back from me so that I will learn something.

While I don't actually consider myself a theologian and I'm not about to fully interpret all of the different scripture passages, I wonder about these words and phrases.

You see, God is a constant. He constantly loves us. He constantly takes care of us. He constantly woos us to himself (thank you Rebecca - for more on her ideas, check out this blog post!)

One of the things that God has surrounded us with is each other. When we get upset because we can't 'see' God or feel Him, when we don't know that He is speaking to us or we feel that He is far from us, or testing us or anything else, we have forgotten that God surrounded us with people that are there to love us and remind us of God's constancy in our lives.

The best part about God is that He recognizes that we are all so human and can't be trusted, so He has ensured that we have families and friends who take up the slack when others fail us. In all of this, though, He is constant. He ensures that we are loved and we are built up and we are reminded of His grace.

Whether or not we want to hear those things is our problem, whether or not we want to recognize God's hand touching us through our friends is our responsibility.

God's love is made complete because of these relationships we have with each other. We are called to love each other since God loved us. And in these relationships, we see God. He isn't hiding, He isn't testing us, He isn't pulling away. He is waiting for us to recognize His face in the faces of those who love us.

As I was working on the God in History blog, I read about Francis of Assisi. His life was changed because He saw the face of Jesus in a leper/beggar on the side of the road. This was a relationship that Francis had never had before that pivotal day, but God grabbed a wealthy young man's heart with the face of a beggar.

We don't have to plead with God to be close to us, He really, really is. We just have to look into the faces of those we love and sometimes into the faces of those that we don't even know. God created the need for community in us because 'if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.'

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