Funny thing love.
It just never looks the way we think it should. Just when you’re ready to spend your life comfortably loving people by smiling and hugging and speaking affirming words in their ears, God says, “Yeah that’s not enough love.”
And so sometimes you find yourself telling your most damning secret aloud in a room full of people, because God wants them all to see what vulnerability and honesty looks like.
There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
How easy it has been all these years to read that in the most literal way possible. Like maybe one day in a far away time and place I’ll jump in front of a car and push my best friend out of the way. And I will have achieved the greatest love. Maybe there will be a kidnapping situation, where I offer myself up in exchange for the freedom of my friends. Or I’ll rescue my pal from the ocean only to drown in the process. If any of these things were to happen I will have finally done it. Achieved not just love but greater love.
But then almost involuntarily you find yourself spewing out things you have kept secret for years and years to people who will not receive it well. Were it up to me I would have just carried on living my secret life because the only person damaged in the telling of this secret is me. No matter what I won’t come out unscathed. My soul will hurt, and my life will be different.
I come out the loser here.
But then I scan the room, and look at the faces of the people I love, and something clicks into place. I am honest for them. I am vulnerable for them. Because I love them so much. And I might have just torched things for myself, but I’ll be okay, because I did it for them. The pain is worth it. The heartache is worth it. I could do it again, and again, and again for the love of them.
The next day at church the Holy Spirit will mend you and bind your wounds and remind you of that verse and shine the light a different way. So that your eyes see for the first time that this painful honesty is exactly what He meant when He breathed that holy word, and this laying down your life so that others can grow at your expense, is the embodiment of body broken and blood spilled in your very own life. And He’ll whisper in your ear just how proud He is because you’ve made it. You are here… living in Greater Love.