Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm loving others today, and I don't even have to choose to do it

Choosing to love others is a good thing, but not having to make that choice is even better!

Did you get Pastor Joel's devotional this morning? (You can get them at his Web site).

I'm having an incredible day today because I'm loving others and I don't even have to choose to do it. I'm just doing it. It's like choosing joy. Choosing joy is just fine, but it's always better when you don't have to make that choice, right? When it's just there.

I think one of the things the Lord is teaching me today is that we don't have to put love letters up on the Internet to be valuing and esteeming each other. We can just walk in that "calm delight" Pastor Joel always talks about, knowing that at the right time we'll be able to express our feeling to everyone in our lives in the proper format.

I was thinking about the Princess as I read today's devotional. A princess likes to be adored and loved on, and that's wonderful, I look forward to obliging her in that.

But that day hasn't fully come, now has it? Does loving the Princess like Christ loved the church mean I need to post love letters on this blog for the world to see? Should my Princess have to post messages of love on the Web for the world to see in order for me to feel honored and appreciated?

Of course not. That would be silly. I haven't met her. She hasn't met me. I don't know her likes and dislikes. She doesn't know mine. I don't know our areas of common interest and such.

As wonderful as technology and the Internet are, there are serious limitations to this kind of communication. When it's time to esteem and honor those in our lives, the best way to do it is by trading e-mail addresses or telephone numbers. Posting love letters on the Internet turns something precious (personal exchanges by people trying to get to know each other) into entertainment for others.

Believe it or not, that's not what this is about. I'm all for entertainment, but it's no way to grow a relationship.

Princess, wherever you are, you're doing just fine. I feel loved and appreciated. You don't even have to tell me I'm loved an appreciated if you don't feel comfortable doing it.

We'll take care of communicating love and appreciation when we are face to face. Having said that, I want you to know you are loved an appreciated. I promise you this, you may feel under loved and under appreciated at times during this season of your life, but you won't feel that way after we've met and started our lives together.

I'm talking about our real lives together. Not silly, one-way communications on the Internet that really are more for the entertainment and appeasement of others rather than for us.

I bet you feel the same way. Have you ever thought, "I wish I could talk to him to let me know exactly what I'm feeling and thinking without having to filter it because I'm actually talking to umpteen other people"?

I have, too. So, don't feel you have to express it. Hold on to your feelings for when we get a chance to talk. I don't feel under appreciated or not loved just because you don't say it on the Internet. Two people have to fall in love. That happens over time as we get to know each other.

There will a day in our lives that we'll be like a normal couple. We can love on each other in private, and discuss everything in our lives like every other healthy couple does. Until then, we just have to take some things on faith.

Anyway, I really started talking today, huh? I guess the main point I wanted to make is that I'm walking in love today.

Here's something maybe Pastor Joel could address in a future message or devotional:

It is very true that God's love is not dependent on conditions. In other words, God loves people no matter what, and we should love the same way.

But should a believer feel obligated to surround themself with people who don't chose to love us that way, or support the vision?

We all have difficult people in our lives. We are obligated to love them anyway. That's just the way it is.

But, are we obligated to knowingly put ourselves around people who we're going to have to work extremely hard at loving?

Do you understand my question?

Shouldn't we love certain people from a distance? I heard a fantastic quote once from a minister. He said that the most dangerous people in our lives are those who feed our doubts. If you think about it, it's true.

Jesus said, "If you believe, all things are possible." So, it makes sense that anyone who causes us to doubt the promises God has placed in our heart is really a detriment to us. That includes people who would normally fall into our "inner circle."

This minister went on to say that we should identify those peope and "ruthlessly eradicate them from our lives." Some harsh words to be sure, but I can actually see a kernel of truth in that remark.

Where do you make the distinction between loving people with God's love, and then on the other hand avoiding people who have consistently proven they are not on board with what God is trying to accomplish in your life?

That's what I'm fighting to understand and grow in. I know God wants me to love everyone -- even the difficult people. But during great trials of our faith, shouldn't we be extremely careful of those we allow to speak into our lives?

If after spending a couple hours with someone, you feel you need to pray through to get your vision back, shouldn't you avoid that person at all costs (no matter who they are)?

Anyway, I'm walking in love today and it feels fantastic. Have a great day.

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