I was watching a Bill Gaither special on television yesterday and they sang one of my favorite songs “Love Lifted Me”. I thought how true those words are because I think that there are times in all of our lives when we get discouraged and are hurt by unkind words or unkind things that are said and done to us.
On August 14, 1980, Jesus put His loving arms of compassion, tenderness, understanding and mercy around me and lifted me up and sat me on His lap of love. On that joyous day, I asked Him to forgive me and save me. That was the greatest and happiest day of my life. That was the first time in my life that anyone had ever said “I love you”. I can’t put into words how I felt knowing that the Saviour of the world loves me. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and I stood in awe of His love for me.
There are times when the tears not only flow down our cheeks; they also flow in our hearts because of being criticized, ridiculed, scorned, judged and rejected. We are also guilty of doing the same thing. Instead of being encouragers to people; we discourage them by the things we say to them. If we would only pray and ask Jesus to change their hearts and lives, we would see our loved ones changed. He is the only one who can change a person’s heart and life.
We not only need people to tell us they love us; we need them to prove it to us by their actions. However, just as we need them to tell us that they love us and prove it to us by their actions, so they need us to tell them that we love them and prove it by our actions to them. We all want to be loved unconditionally but love is not a one way street. It is not enough to have people love us; we must also love them.
There are times that we treat Jesus this way. We take from Him but sometimes we fail to give Him our devotion, time, talents and all of our hearts. I wonder how many times we have prayed for something for years and then when He answered our prayers, we only thanked Him one time. We didn’t have any problems asking Him for the same thing over and over, sometimes several times a day, but we seem to have a problem when it comes to thanking Him for things as often as we ask Him for things. May God forgive us for the way we treat Him!
Jesus didn’t ask us to love one another and He didn’t say that He wished we would love each other. What He said was “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another”. Loving each other is not an option; it is a commandment from Jesus.
He is not talking about sex either; He is talking about loving each other unconditionally from our hearts. He wants us to love each other with the same love He has for us. Just as He forgives us and has compassion for us when we hurt Him, He expects us to forgive those who hurt us and have compassion on them.
I remember years ago when I lived in Oklahoma a husband and wife who were friends of mine had a terrible argument. The husband decided that he had better do something to calm her down so he went out and bought her a box of candy and a bouquet of flowers. When he took them home to his wife, she burst into tears and said “You don’t love me anymore”. He was shocked and couldn’t believe her outburst when he had spent so much of his money on her.
O dear friends, spending money on people does not mean that we love them. The only way they will believe that we love them is by our kindness to them. This husband had not hugged his wife in two months. Yes, they were together in a physical sense but his wife told me that her husband didn’t treat her tenderly like he used to do. She told me that when they went to bed at night, her husband used to hold her and tell her how much he loved her. She said “He hasn’t held me and told me that he loves me in almost a year”.
Just as my friend needed her husband to hug her and tell her that he loved her so we need Jesus to hug us and tell us that He loves us. However, much more importantly, Jesus needs us to hug Him and tell Him that we love Him. Are we faithful to tell Him that we love Him and do we hug Him by our actions to others? We read in the Bible “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).
If Jesus didn’t hug me every day and tell me that He loves me, I would be heartbroken. I would probably not get out of the bed if He didn’t tell me that He loved me when I praised and worshipped Him before I put my feet on the floor. I can’t do anything without my precious Saviour. Everything that I do is for Him. I fail Him many times but He knows my heart and He knows how much I love Him. Without His love for me, nothing makes any sense.
There is no reason to live if I can’t serve Jesus and try to make Him happy. He has suffered so much for me that I want to do whatever I can with His help to encourage His heart and put a little sparkle in His eyes. I’m sure that when He was here on earth that His eyes were not sparkling all the time because of all the rejection, criticism and scorn that He had to endure.
It is only as we hug people and prove to them that we love them that they will believe us. Thank God for our precious Saviour who not only hugs us and tells us that He loves us, He also lifts us up out of the garbage of our past, forgives us, cleanses us and never holds it against us again. What a wonderful loving Saviour we serve! What a privilege it is to be loved by the Saviour of the world!
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