Love is a continual choice and a constant commitment. Every morning we wake up with the choice to choose love or indifference. Grace or ignorance. Anger or forgiveness. It’s a choice. No one forces these things upon you, much like knowing Jesus. God opens up the door and lays everything out before you, but He leaves you to make the final decision. And in there, resides the beauty of the gift of free will. He chooses us to freely choose Him.
And when we say “yes” to Him, His grace, His forgiveness, His love, we are immediately called to a higher standard. The bar rises to a place, that to some, seems exceedingly high. But He holds us to this high standard because of His love for us. He will not give us nor does he desire that we settle for second best or anything less than the greatness He has to offer. That is love.
Just yesterday I had been talking with one of my World Racers about the simplicity of the Gospel. That what it all comes down to at the beginning, middle and end of the day is love. Jesus lived it, breathed it and proclaimed it his entire life. And after many years of laws, regulation, religion and legalism He summed it up for all to hear and understand, not a new commandment but one that had already been in place from the beginning:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40
He calls us to live out these high standards of love not just to those within the church, but to all of those within the world. So what do you do when you’re several thousands of miles away from home, on a team with people you’re still getting to know and the reality of the World Race begins to settle in? And when I say reality, I mean the reality of life with lice and bed bugs.
What does it look like to embrace your teammate regardless of the fact that they have lice? What about when the girl you’re sleeping next to wakes up with a bunch of red itchy bites and… there are absolutely no mosquitos to blame?
I can already imagine your wide-eyed terrified face as you read, and the mental step-by-step retreat from your computer. Perhaps you’re already getting those “sympathy itches” on your scalp. But it’s okay, we’re not contagious via web 🙂
But sympathy itches aside, how do you choose love in this situation? Is it the quick, “I’ll be praying for you,” as you peace out and avoid all contact until the outbreak is contained? Or is it taking that massive bag of mayo and massaging it into your teammate’s scalp? Is it banishing your roommate and her stuff into garbage bags and one area of the house? Or would you be willing to stay back and do all the laundry (Praise the Lord for a washer and dryer!) and begin the deep cleanse? And maybe, this love looks like joining in on the 6 hour deep-mayo conditioning treatment, wiping away the oil that begins to drip down in the final hours and choose to laugh and encourage each other as the smell of sandwiches lingers way too close to your face.
Love is choosing to prefer your sister. Love is staying up till 1:30am going through her hair with a fine tooth comb and living out the definition of being “nit-picky” to kill all the buggers who’ve taken up residence in a place they do not belong. This love, it is patient, it is kind, it does not boast and it is not proud. It is not dishonoring nor does it keep a record of wrongs (or nits). This kind of love is protective, trustworthy, hopeful and endures. This love never ends.
Though the smell of mayonnaise is still present in my massive mane – despite several shampoo & conditioner rinses, tea tree oil and lavender applications – love has no regrets. Nor do I.