The Greatest Gift You Can Give the World

Originally published Wednesday, 13 June 2018.

The greatest gift you can give the world is your love. Love brings life everywhere it goes. I must confess, I used to be one of those people who condemned and judged people based on what their circumstances looked like. But I have learned the hard way to stop doing that. And when I feel like all the judgment and condemnation has been beaten out of me, another situation comes around the corner, and I find a new log sticking out of my own eye.

Jesus said, “How can you take the speck out of your brother’s eye when you have a log in your own eye? First take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (see Matt. 7:3–5).

We can help people find clarity to certain degrees, but not until we have stopped condemning and judging and showing prejudice. And when we have been thoroughly humbled and humiliated and freed from thinking we know everything, then we can finally help bring some clarity to others. I like to let God be the judge. And then I can be his witness. Just tell what I’ve seen. Easy!

Choosing love is the only reason I can find for how, in the past five years, I’ve managed to keep two children alive and growing in their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.

Choosing love grows my marriage in these same areas.

Choosing love is why we released a full-length album, and I believe why it is selling so well. My husband and I chose to love God by obeying his nudges to our hearts to write music and share it, even when it was inconvenient and expensive and had no guarantees of success or financial return. We chose to love the fans by responding to the thousands of emails I received asking for new music and writing music for them that addressed many of the things they were struggling with and wrote to me about. We chose to love our kids by teaching them that instead of hiding from the dark in the world, we face it and shine our light into it and bring the love for Christ into places where people don’t know that they are loved.

Choosing love is why I released my first book, The Reason, about overcoming suicide. I chose to love the fans by answering so many of their questions about depression, suicide, and my faith in Christ. I chose to love my husband by honoring his suggestion that I should write a book.

Choosing love is why I released my second book, The Mystery, about finding emotional purity and health in my romantic life. I chose to love God by honoring the urgency he put in my heart to share how he defeated the enemy in my life in all these areas. I chose to love the fans by writing The Mystery in response to the many emails I received from people in abusive relationships or affairs, or who just wanted to know about healthy ways of dating.

Choosing love is why I’ve gone on four national tours and taken numerous speaking appearances. Each time an opportunity arises, my husband and I pray and seek to obey the leading of God on each invitation.

Because when we choose love, the ripple that comes from that choice is life. Life and more life. It turns into a wave of life.

And when there is a great wave about to crash as a result of all your choices to love, it often looks like everything is lacking. The shoreline pulls in. The bigger the wave, the farther the water goes out.

In those moments, people can look around and call it a desert. And if you don’t condemn yourself for what looks like a desert around you, there are certainly those who will.

And my testimony is just what I have seen personally, in my own experience. It might not relate to everyone, but it also might help some stand up with more confidence in their purpose and coast with more freedom and peace into their destinies.

I don’t remember asking to be born.

None of us do.

But we have been given this gift of life by our powerful, beautiful Almighty God. Figuring out how to steward this gift of life I have been given is one of the greatest adventures I have ever been on. I’m still learning about it every day.

This article was taken from The Return: Reflections on Loving God Back by Lacey Sturm. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group (2018). Used with permission.