-1 John 4:7-11
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
-I Corinthians 13:2-3
God's Word is very clear, we are commanded to love; to open our hearts to others & give of ourselves just as Christ gave of Himself to us. But we all know that whenever you let someone else get close to you, then there is a risk of being hurt. I think C.S. Lewis said it well in his work "The Four Loves." Take a look:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I hate being vulnerable. I like to feel independent, self-sufficient, unbreakable. But God calls me to be Christ-dependent, find my sufficiency in Him, & to be broken at the foot of the cross. I've been contemplating this over & over again the past few weeks as I find myself missing my friends back in the States very much, yet somewhat apprehensive to develop deep friendships here because I know that when I return home in December, then I will have more friends that I am missing. Then there's always the possibility of trying to make new friends, & being rejected or hurt. All of this was going through my mind the other day when I was also thinking about Hebrews 12. And these two words stuck out to me: "Consider Him." Speaking of Christ, verse three of chapter twelve says "Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted."
How must Christ have felt? Coming to earth a helpless baby. Creator of the universe, unable even to ask for food or water. Completely dependent on the very fragile human beings he had given breath to. Christ was willing to be vulnerable & broken to restore a relationship with humanity. Yet I retreat behind my wall of insecurity or self-sufficiency all for the sake of protecting my pride. "What if they don't like me?" or, "what if they hurt me?" These are my arguments, but Christ came to earth knowing full well that he would be crushed by the very ones He had come to rescue. Chances are, I will never be physically harmed for sharing Christ, or reaching out to love on others, so what is my excuse? I don't want to love, because love=vulnerability? Unacceptable.
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." -Ephesians 5:1-2