Thursday, September 29, 2016
As I was journaling this Sunday's sermon and went back to hear the end portion again, I was taken by the summary of the very last subject on the outline:
2 Cor 2:4 - For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
How often do we actually declare our love for other people? Or do we assume that they know that we love them and avoid telling them directly that we do? This is an age old problem that runs in families, and cultures down through time.
I am tempted to assume that in the Pharisaical culture that Paul was raised in, telling of love was a hard thing to do. Whether or not this is true, what is true is that when Paul met Christ, Christ filled him with love that ever overflowed from him to the people he was teaching.
In this case, the people had forgotten his love for them and became wrapped up in gossip about him; very negative and hurtful to him and harmful to them. As he is writing this letter he has just been through what he describes as a “life and death” situation which held him in some despair and now he is hearing about the gossip and harm that is a part of the church at this point. His heart is broken and the words he writes come from deep inside him. He must make corrections in their thinking and it weighs heavily on him to have to do that.
But he moves forward and writes an urgent letter to them from his heart; his Holy Spirit, love-filled heart! The overflow of the love that God has for Him is loudly stated in verse 2:4: I love you! I did love you, I do love you , and I will always love you; because God, Himself, gave me this love for you!
Wow. How often do we feel like that, let alone say that to the people we love?
We do not have the capacity to love a deep and abiding love without God's love in us. Love, without God's love, is always selfish. It happens when someone else makes an effort to love us and that makes us feel good. We respond to our own needs and not the needs of others. What can this love relationship do for ME; rather than how can this relationship help me do things to show love for that person.
May we grow in the ability to let God flow His great love out of us and onto others; coworkers, friends, extended family and especially to our children and our spouses. May we be quick to say “I love you,” or at least “Love ya” (and maybe a hug) to those God has given us to love.
I think that right now would be a good time for me to write down the names of as many extended relatives as I can think of and ask myself if I love them at all, let alone God's way. Will you join me?