What does this kind of love smell like?

Originally published Thursday, 30 April 2015.

Ephesians 5:2 “and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you.”

We all know the golden rule.  We grew up with it and offer justification for when someone hurts us.  If “they” only knew how their words hurt, “they wouldn’t talk to me like that”.  We’ve all said that in self-defense.

Every mission trip I clean up something.  I grab a plastic trash bag and silently bend over to pick up someone’s trash.  I didn’t drop it nor did I bring trash to leave behind.  My philosophy is that if I can leave a place cleaner than when I found it, then I have left a mark that someone kind has been there.  I let my actions speak love.

I got to thinking today about how we serve with love in actions or deeds, sometimes only for the reason of someone noticing that we did something.  Because I honestly have a thing for removing trash in my life and when things are messy and trashy, I have to do something about it.  I’ve been on a lot of personal clean up committees.  Mostly my own.

What if we could apply love not just to the work of our hands but also to the words that we speak, like a nice smell of love?

What would happen if we left someone’s heart a better place instead of throwing words of hurt first?  How would it change our relationships, if instead of an accusing tone, we used gentleness? What if we acted like grown ups and apologized first?

Could it be that we need special seeing to see the love-needs in others?  Could it be that we can’t love ourselves and therefore project an unloving spirit to those we talk to?  Could it be that we like to be harsh with ourselves because we feel unworthy when we come before God?

I have come to understand the depth of God’s love and it’s based on one word…grace.  And without it you can’t see or hear the depth of His heart for you.  Someone had to teach you that you were unworthy, someone had to accuse you of not being lovable, someone hurt you so that you can’t trust again, someone has not been kind to you, someone has done you wrong but said they loved you.  Someone has misused the act of love towards you.  Someone has stolen an innocent love that you will never get back.

It doesn’t matter whether you are single, married, divorced, or widowed.  We want to love, be loved and be beloved.

You’ve been warring for love for years, and many of you only have a scarred heart to show for it all.  Don’t we all want the kind of love that freely gives reconciliation?  One that is conflict free and free to be accepted as you are?  Could it be possible that kind of love exists among God’s children?

Sadly in the name of love, many hurts have been throw on our hearts, as challenges or justifications for some wrong doing or for spiritual growth.  Even the church is guilty in doing this.  And that breaks my heart.  How often do we expect new Christians to act like mature Christians the day they get dunked in the baptismal waters?  How many times do we accuse and point fingers at others when we can’t even get the logs out of our own eyes?

When the goal of your conflicts are to be right instead of bringing unity, then you are only proving your opinion.

Unity is only conformity when it falls under the love of Christ.

What does it take to love like Christ?  Humility.  We all mess up and make mistakes.  When you are dealing with love it requires reconciliation, because Christ is the only one who did it right and perfectly.  Seriously think about this!

“Reconciliation is always rooted in humility.  The need for justice often results in wounds that won’t heal and broken relationships that refuse to mend.” ~ Kris Vallotton KVMinistries.  Building a culture of honor and humility always results in love and reconciliation.  Building a bridge and getting over your own trash helps in the clean up but don’t treat others as if they are less than you.  It’s only in the building of humble relationships, totally based on grace, will we leave a imprint of love and grace.  Humility helps us all with our special hearing of God’s love.

It’s the golden rule in my books.  Leaving people better than when you found them.  Picking up the refuse in their lives and throwing away the hurts takes time, but the rewards are huge.  And it requires special hearing from the One who made the rule book about love.