How to Find Real Love
By Paul Richardson
A man with leprosy came and knelt before (Jesus) and said,
“Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.
“I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!”
Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
Who are you in this story? Perhaps, like me, you tend to identify with Jesus. If so, you might see the story as a call to show some compassion to the homeless man holding a sign on the street corner. We might apply the story by trying to dig up the courage to forgive the lowly people who have offended us.
May I propose that every time we read a story about Jesus, we identify first and fore- most with the lowliest person in the scene? I am not the Good Samaritan. I am not even the wounded and bleeding victim assaulted on the road to Jericho. I am the Levite who keeps my distance. I am the hypocrite, the Pharisee, the Roman soldier who crucified Jesus.
1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” In other words, we are powerless to love until we are first the recipients of love. To receive love entails the humility to be the leper who reaches out to Jesus for help.
When Jesus touched the leper, his power invaded that man’s body. Life overcame death. Yes, real love is powerful. Reality check. The love in some of our Christian communities is powerless. Jesus’ command to love our enemies is a heart-warming Sunday school lesson. Yet when faced with that person at the office, the call to love our enemies is absurd. We like love, but our love has its limits.
A few weeks ago, we sent three teachers to open a school in a very remote village. Just getting there required great effort and expense.
Within days of our teachers’ arrival, all their school supplies were stolen. When I heard about this, I felt like saying, “Fine. We will remove our teachers from those ungrateful thieves and reassign them to a village where they are appreciated.”
It is high time for a revolution of love. Love is awakened in the moments that we pray, “Jesus, I am the one trapped in my sinful condition. I am the one separated and alone. I am the thief. Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Our theme this year is “Straight from the Heart.” It is a call to rediscover love for the first time.
Will you join us?
YOU ARE INVITED!
Come and hear the story of how God is working in the Papuan Highlands.
On Saturday, November 6th at 6pm (EDT),
we will meet with the teaching team at our newest school in the Papuan Highlands. See firsthand how God moved to reach these isolated children.