Last week I received one of those telephone calls that sends a Mom’s heart racing and her blood pressure skyrocketing. I gripped my cell phone tightly as I listened to the controlled voice of our youngest daughter. “Mom, my house has been broken into. I’m waiting now for the police!”
A thousand questions rushed into my mind, but, thankfully, she reassured me of the most important one of all. “I’m okay. I saw the door had been kicked in, so I didn’t go in. I came back to the car and called the police.” The next hour or so seemed like an eternity as I waited 2-1/2 hours away to hear what was going on. I knew my daughter had been gone for a couple of nights on a work assignment and she had made the discovery when she ran by her house at lunch time after returning. Soon, I listened as my daughter recounted the difficulty of walking into the small house she had just rented and moved into a few weeks ago, to find it thoroughly trashed. In addition to missing items; drawers, cabinets, and storage containers had been ransacked, contents dumped on the floor, thrown and scattered. She barely knew where to start cleaning up, much less the heart to even begin.
But, that’s not the end or the point of this story. The point of this story is what happened next. The people my daughter worked with and went to church with (she works at the church she attends) rallied around her. People from her office showed up to help pick up the worst of the mess that very afternoon. She received offers to stay in homes until she could decide her next step. Friends have offered to help her finish cleaning up and sorting the mess left behind. Other friends have offered to help move her remaining things into storage or a new place to live. In short, she has been surrounded by the love of Christ.
And, oh, isn’t that what we all need? But not just when bad things happen! The one thing that we all need more than anything else in the world, whether we want to admit it or not, is to be loved. Love matters because it says that we matter. One of the last instructions Jesus gave to His disciples before His death was about love. “ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
Love makes a difference. Think of the many ways that Christ’s love makes a difference in your life. I immediately thought of the following. Because Christ loves me….
- I have life, eternal life. I am no longer condemned (see John 3:16).
- I can love others. Christ’s love for me enables me to love others – even when others are spiteful to me, or when they do things to use me or persecute me (see 1 John 4:19; Matthew 5:43-48).
- I can have fellowship with the Father (see John 14:23).
- I can have hope even in the darkest of times (see Romans 5:2-5).
But as much as I rejoice in the wonder of Christ’s love and the difference it makes in my life, I also know that Christ doesn’t want me to just keep His love to myself. He wants me to share His love freely with others. I have to ask myself if others see Christ-like love in my life? Do I love only those who love me, or who are like me, or who I deem to be worthy of my love? Christ loved both the sinner and the saint, the social outcast and the accepted friend, those who loved him and those who hated and betrayed him. He took time for the children, showed compassion to the hurting, and went out of His way to befriend and show love to those who needed it most. He was no respecter of persons, but loved all unconditionally. Do others see that kind of love in my life?
When I stay close to Christ and allow His love to flow through me, others can also experience the difference Christ’s love can make in their lives. To be sure, my daughter’s friends are providing help and encouragement during a tough time. But even more, as they allow Christ’s love to flow through them and as they lift up and hearten my daughter, it’s as if Christ, Himself, is reaching out to surround her with His love. How thankful I am for the love of Christ and for faithful followers who share His love so well!
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”