"Love Bombs"

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By: Katie Rath

1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (NIV)

When it comes to love, most of us are incredibly selfish. We choose who we want to love, how we want to express that affection, and we can choose to stop loving whenever we want to. As a young child, I was dubbed a compassionate girl, willing to give my left arm, and then my right one, for any individual.

At some point in my teenage years, I started looking very closely at people and their lives. I kept close tabs on who screwed up and who “deserved” my love. As a cruel result, I lost any desire to be compassionate towards the people around me. But I was a Christian! I had to be compassionate, because God told me to be. So how could I love people that I didn’t want to love? My solution was love bombs.

In my mind, I could both satisfy people with love and starve them simultaneously by tossing out love bombs—incredible acts of what appeared to be affection, but at the same time condemning their sins and keeping them at arm’s length. From a distance, these love bombs were perfect examples of how Christians should love people. They came in many different shapes, like forgiveness, favors, prayers, and compliments. But if you examined them closely, they would explode in your face.

Through an eye-opening conversation with a friend who had been injured by one of these bombs, I began to understand that true love will not let us be selfish. True love cannot exist at a distance. No, true love is very, very up-close and personal.

Love is so up-close and personal that God, the true picture of love, gave us Love in the form of Jesus. For the first time, Love walked among us, refusing to be silent, openly showing itself to everyone who deserved it and to everyone who didn’t deserve it. God eliminated any excuse for love bombs when Christ showed us exactly what it meant to love unselfishly.

Scripture tells us time and time again that we need to love each other, no matter who we are and no matter who the “other” is. When we observe love as warlike or conditional, it is no longer love; it is in direct disobedience with what God requires of us. So please, let’s put down the bombs, crawl out of the barracks, and follow the ultimate Love Leader.

My Prayer for Today:

God, You are the best picture of love that any of us can know. Thank You so much for providing Jesus as the best model of love we could ask for. Teach us how to love one another without condition. Teach us to let down our guards and to love our brothers and sisters personally. Give us compassionate hearts that cannot love selfishly. Remove our human nature to pick and choose the people we love, and fill our hearts so full of affection that we overflow! We ask because we know You can and will do this. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?

Want More Love?, by Kathy Wierenga Buchanan

A Young Woman’s Walk with God: Growing More Like Jesus, by Elizabeth George

Think About It:

Who am I refusing to love?

Is there someone in my life that is a good model of a compassionate person? How can I follow his or her example?

Is there anyone I’ve ever hurt by refusing to love them? How I can I repair that relationship?

Live It:

While compassion cannot be created out of thin air, it can be cultivated by simply putting it into action. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, offer to babysit your kid sister so your mom can take a break, or help an elderly neighbor plant flowers for the spring. In a variety of random circumstances, you’d be surprised where love can show up.

Power Verses:

John 15:17, “This is my command: Love each other.” (NIV).

Philippians 1:9-11 “So this is my prayer: That your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus would be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” (The Message)

1 Peter 3:8, “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” (NIV)

© 2009 by Katie Rath. All rights reserved.

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