i’ve done a lot of thinking about love this week. each year during holy week i try to take a few extra moments and think about what this week symbolizes for me as a jesus follower. if you frequent this blog or follow me on social media then you know i’ve tried to put some extra love into the world this week. why? because for me that is the ultimate gesture of holy week. there is NO greater love than when a person lays down his/her life for a friend.
holy week is love.
it is tradition in my faith to explore the words of jesus as he was being murdered. as i listened to my friends talk about these last moments in worship i started thinking about what these words mean to me on a deep and very personal level. but beyond that i started considering my friends who do not follow jesus. what does this mean for them? how is it relevant to their lives? do the words matter at all?
what i find is that jesus is sending a message to each person that will ever exist. he is expressing hope for anyone willing to listen. sure, we have our differences but the words he gives hold value for each of us.
first, people are stupid sometimes but holding on to resentment, anger and hate only hurt you! they’re KILLING jesus and he cries out for THEIR forgiveness. i think he realizes that they don’t fully comprehend what they are doing. and let’s be honest, when people hurt you and me sometimes they don’t realize they’re doing it. Even if a few do realize-they’ll probably never know the depth of pain they cause. but here’s the thing…forgive and move on. harboring resentment, anger and hatred only effects YOUR freedom. if you see others living a lifestyle you despise and you disagree with choices they make. being angry will only hurt you. let it go. let love in.
second, who cares what you did? there’s love for you! jesus followers believe him to be a man that didn’t sin. yet, here he is being murdered between two thieves sentenced to death. one guy looks over at jesus and simply acknowledges who jesus is. what does jesus do? he extends the same grace to him that he gives to his most faithful followers. WHO CARES WHAT YOU DID?! we all make mistakes but grace still applies. let love in.
numero tres, you don’t have to be alone! jesus sees his mother and his dearest friend grieving. so at the very heart of his agony he made sure they weren’t left alone. “mom, treat him like your son! friend, treat her like your own mother!” you don’t have to be alone. you are made for friendship, companionship and community. let love in.
4th, every body hurts and feels abandoned sometimes. we all feel alone sometimes. abandonment is an issue that so many of us experience. friends leave. partners leave. family members leave. this is not the end. life is a journey and we’re always moving forward. feeling alone is not a reflection of who you are, it’s a reflection of what you need. feeling alone doesn’t mean something is wrong with you, it means something isn’t right in your situation. let love in.
fifth, i’m still human. and aren’t we all? i believe there are times in life that we have to endure the hardest, most agonizing moments knowing that those moments are making us better humans, better friends, better family members…JUST BETTER. and sometimes in those moments we’re aware this is happening but guess what – you’re still human and it’s still okay to admit that you have needs. someone will be there. just ask. let love in.
six, i’m done. it’s okay to give up sometimes. perhaps that’s exactly what you need to do, maybe it’s time. i’m not talking about death. no, hear me…sometimes you’ve done all you can do in a situation. sometimes you try and try then try some more and you’re exhausted. it’s ok. walk away but when you do, don’t forget - let love in.
lastly, i’m trusting someone higher to finish this and i know THE GOOD PART IS ON THE WAY! jesus basically says, “father, i’m trusting you with my very being”
life is hard, we trudge through. we hit the bottom. we hurt. we lose people and we gain more people. pain can make us lose faith – faith in love, friendship, humanity and just simply goodwill. but even after we’ve been through hell we still have to find someone to trust. let love in.
i think this is the point where these words become cyclical. you have to forgive, realize you’re worth it, find community, know it’s okay to be human and give up some of the toxic relationships in life BUT trust that someone has your best in mind. if you get hurt again: forgive, realize you’re wo - - you get the picture.
i know jesus’ words have so many different lessons and meanings. but this week, this is what they speak to my heart.
maybe i hear the forgiveness and humanity in christ’s words because this week i have heard so much condemnation and hate.
during a week that celebrates the ULTIMATE EXPRESSION OF LOVE, a week that the this great act of love is in the spot light, we allowed division to overshadow truth. did we miss an opportunity to show love in the shadow of the cross? did we neglect the expression of acceptance that jesus extends to each and every human soul no matter what? did we failed to let love in? jesus doesn’t make exceptions, he loves.
he loves each person that painted facebook red and fought for equality this week.
he loves each person that opposes marriage equality.
he loves you if you are attracted to someone of the same sex.
he loves you if you are attacted to the opposite sex.
i don’t deny you the right to express your belief system no matter what it demands. however, i am a jesus follower and i believe that his message is love. i believe the words that he spoke during his execution were meant for you. for me. for everyone.
if you’re reading please know that you are loved. these words were for you, no matter what you believe, who you love, where you are. this is for you.
let love in.
*this post sparked by this phrase: “the end of fear is where we begin. the moment we decided to let love in.” ~ goo goo dolls*