Some wisdom… for me…

“Wherever there is true love, there must be giving and giving to the point of sacrifice, not with simply giving a token or some form of a shallow action.” Interestingly, I just read this from a pastor’s article about the love of Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.   Jesus’ love for us was so deep and intimate that he was willing to sacrifice everything to be close to us.   Are we willing to do the same thing?

I was talking to one of my friends about this quote and the idea of sacrifice or suffering as a part of loving someone.  He asked me if I had considered this idea in relation to a person in an abusive relationship.  Should he or she continue to take the abuse and sacrifice his or her safety and the safety of his or her children so that he or she can show his or her husband or wife how much he or she loves him or her?  That seems pretty backwards and gross, so what would this quote mean in that kind of situation.  It makes me think of some wisdom that someone had told me a while ago, in that sometimes the best solution to a dangerous situation like the above is to sacrifice the relationship for the health of those involved.  Meaning that sometimes people have to separate and be without each other for a while so that they can approach the relationship again from a different angle or a healthier angle that they might not have been aware of in the midst of the unhealthiness of their prior relationship.  For example, if a wife is abused, she would be loving her husband and children by sacrificing her marriage relationship at the moment and moving away from her husband.   To continue in the cycle of violence – forgiveness – violence and not realize that your life is in danger would be foolish.

I can’t say that I was thinking about the abuse side of the idea when I first encountered the quote.  In fact, I was thinking about the challenge that Jesus gives the rich young ruler, in that he should sell everything that he has, give the profit to the poor, and follow Jesus.  We are often very hesitant to sacrifice this much for Jesus because it would be very uncomfortable, and we would have to depend on someone else (besides ourselves).  We’re Americans.  We can do it on our own.  Why would we become dependent when we could be independent? We can make our own decisions and make a good life for ourselves, except when we really screw it up.  Then we realize that maybe life is not as easy as it seems, but that doesn’t mean either that we’ll turn to Jesus in that situation and surrender our lives to him.

Maybe that’s our biggest struggle as Americans.  We can give our tithe, go to church and sunday school, take our kids to youth group, and attend a small group, but anything more than that would be too much.  Surrendering the entirety of our lives to Jesus is actually very foreign to us, and it is really the very thing about Jesus that we fear the most because he may ask us to do something the we would rather not do like give 60% of our money and possessions away, downsize our home, and get rid of the BMW sitting in our driveways.  Some might say “But I don’t own a BMW!”  We all do not own BMW’s, but the several cars that we do own may be BMW’s in comparison to those who cannot get their own food, clean water, or quality shelter.

But enough with the guilt trip, what else is this quote speaking to in my life.  I wonder if it doesn’t also apply to the ideas that  Iwrote about in a facebook note over the Christmas holiday in 2010.  I talked about how we often think that getting something for someone is enough to show them that we love or care for them when what both people in the situation long for is personal interaction, a donation of time rather than stuff.  I also asked whether what we truly need is more stuff.  Don’t we already have enough stuff? Nothing makes this issue more clear to me than when I worked at the Home Sweet Home ministries warehouse in April.  We sorted toys as a part of the work for the day, and the management actually had us throw away all of the stuffed animals that were coming in, regardless of their condition, merely becuase they were getting hundreds per week and could not sell them fast enough.  I could not believe the number of stuffed animals that came through that place.

So how do we show someone love by sacrificing for them?  One thing that comes to mind is for a father to give up a few extra hours at work to come home and spend some quality time with his children and wife.  Another thing that comes to mind is taking a sabbath in which your main vocation of work ceases and you take those few moments to spend time with God and the people you love.  Other ways could be giving your daily coffee and donating the money that you would have spent on that to a local charity or in sponsorship of an impoverished child across the world.  Many ways exist in which we could sacrifice for others, but we must think about it more, humbling ourselves, and considering the needs of those around us.


~ by randallkoehler on May 15, 2011.

One Response to “Some wisdom… for me…”

  1. Randall,
    I so agree. It is sometimes hard for people to grasp the thought that I am willing to give up everything here to be with “my babies” in Africa. At first, it did seem difficult, but now knowing what I’m giving up here, mostly worldly things, does not even come close to comparing with the joy that fills my heart when I think about my babes. I can’t wait to hear how God is going to use you in Africa friend.

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