“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18 NASB
“To love at all is to be vulnerable, love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” C.S. Lewis – Four Loves
I love authentic people, not only are they easy and fun to be with, but they give me courage to live authentically. They’re warm, inviting, graceful, joy filled. They are not perfectionists. I leave their presence feeling just a bit better. Enlarged. May we be courageous enough to do the same.
And you will get hurt. You will be stunned. You will have a broken heart. You will be betrayed. You will be criticized and sometimes cruelly by spineless creatures on the Internet. Sometimes our own family. Yet, love we must, authentically, or it’s not love. It’s probably some people-pleasing, approval-seeking, manipulative, codependent behavior. It’s making someone else responsible for my well-being, my sense of self, validation. If that person disapproves, then I crumble. Thank God! Work to do. There’s only one Person who can give us perfect love. And he waits for an invitation. He does not cross boundaries, threaten or intimidate. He does it perfectly. Where is our treasure? Where is our self-image? What is our idea of success?
People die. Pets die. Plants die. I read somewhere that the greater the love the greater the grief. Grief is the final act of loving someone. But it’s authentic, painful, agonizing, but part of who we are. What an empty life without authenticity. Love. The good and the bad. Joyful and despairing.
The most authentic, unassuming, validating Person I know is Jesus. From rabble-rousing fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes to me, what an authentic person! He had no advantages. He grieved. He wept. No status. No sports cars. No designer clothes. No media platform. No agent. Yet, people were drawn to him. Changed with him. Loved with him. Died for him. He experienced everything and more.
Thank you that you have made us unique individuals with stewardship over the talents you’ve given. Help us to live authentically for that is the only way we can truly live and love. Love hurts sometimes. Your beloved son knows this. “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Thank you for joy and a life with all the colors.