The Love You First Received

Breaking. Desperate for love. Full of longing, but not sure what for. Aware of a purpose, but unable to find it or unsure where the path leads.

I think it’s safe to say most of us have been in this rut at least once. There are so many questions and doubts. We don’t know who or what to believe anymore. Hope feels like some long-sought-after dream that’s always just out of reach. Ideally, there’s someone there to help us. There’s someone to sit with us in our puddle of tears, hold our hand, and cry with us. There’s someone ready to pour themselves into our life and walk through the dark parts with us.

Often it’s through this person that we encounter — and re-encounter — the true Healer and Lover of our broken, beat up, prideful, yet hungry souls.

But what I’m realizing more and more is that everyone knows what breaking is, but comparatively few have experienced love.

God created people to have relationships with one another as a reflection of His relationship with us. When we experience love from a friend, family member, or significant other, we receive a tiny glimpse of God’s love for us. If someone has never experienced love, it’s hard for them to fully grasp that reality.

You can’t tell someone to “have hope” unless you give them something real to hope for. In the same way, it’s rather hypocritical to merely tell someone that love is out there. Show them. It doesn’t even have to be super extravagant. Ask them how they’re doing, and listen to them. Say hello. Tell them about something cool that happened to you recently. Knock politely and humbly on the conversational doors until one of them opens.

Through James’ letter to the church, God lets us know, very firmly, that faith without works is dead.

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)

There are many things we can believe about what love looks like. But if we never act on those beliefs, they’re worthless. Faith is meant to change us from the inside out. If we’re not being shaped and challenged, daily, by our faith, we seriously need to reevaluate our perspective on faith.

You’ll never know how far a small, meaningful gesture can go if you never step out and do it. So this week, go say hi to that person you’ve been trying to muster up the courage to connect with. Ask that busy friend who barely talks to you how can be praying for them. Tell the strict teacher “thank you.” Genuinely compliment someone who’s lately only criticized you. I’ll do the same! If God’s been nudging us to reach out to someone, we trust that He’ll be right there with us the entire time.

Because guess what? God did the exact same thing for us when He called us out of darkness. We rejected Him, and still do, yet He keeps coming after us because He loves us, and He wants to bless us.

We love because He first loved us.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” -Jesus (John 15:12)

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