Where in the world did we ever get the idea that love was easy? That it would cost us nearly nothing? That our conflicts with others can be resolved in two hours with appropriately dramatic music playing for us the whole way through?
My experience with love is hugely different. Sometimes, there IS no music. It is sometimes so painful that it barely seems survivable. The cost is often so high that I feel emotionally “broke” at the end of the day. And it is NEVER easy.
If treasures just laid right out in the open all over the place, would they have the same value as the ones for which we search for years?
This world wants everything to be fast, simple, and take nearly zero effort to claim. Well, that’s not love. That sounds like lust to me. Sure, we think of lust as sexual desire, and that is definitely a big part of that word. But to me, lust is about immediate gratification. No effort, but all the pleasures. God loves, and we lust. He desires us, and we desire everything BUT Him.
Now, I can kind of understand why there was about 300 years of “nothing” between where the Old Testament stopped and the New Testament began. Sometimes, I think God was sitting there, thinking, “ Do I really want to give my greatest treasure to be beaten, killed, and sacrificed for THESE people? These people who have repeatedly turned away from me, rejected me, and flat out cheated on me?? Do I really love them THAT much?” Now, I don’t honestly think God had any such conversation with Himself, because He knew before time began what He would one day give up. But, I could understand if He had those thoughts. I have them often. “How long can I keep offering forgiveness, just to be hurt again? How much longer can I go on? Where’s the nearest EXIT?????? Can I really keep on giving to someone who keeps taking and taking?”
But that is love. It’s raw, bloody, messy, painful…and one day…. beautiful. If we don’t give up.
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
This kind of love does not sound like “disney movie love”, does it? But if we are honest with ourselves, that’s really the kind we want. Why? Because it’s EASY! Way less painful than the kind of love Jesus is describing. But, you see, if we love Him, we have to love like HE does! And we know what he did for love. Those verses are harsh and aren’t easy to swallow. But that is love. It is not pretty, but SOOOOOO worth it in the end!