I think the world was a simpler place when there were only three Star Wars movies.
We hear Leia proclaim, “I love you.” We hear Han respond, “I know.” It takes two seconds.
I long for the simplicity and the clarity of this conversation in the craziness of our world. It’s my prayer for you as we walk through Love Brave together that you would hear God proclaim to you, “I love you,” and that you would be able to respond, “I know.”
Every word we speak or write to another person has power which is either creative or destructive. Our words build people up and our words break people down. We speak to others, and we’re noisy gongs and clanging cymbals when we forget who they are and when we forget to love. Every person we speak to is created in the image of God, and we pour destruction over that image when we ignore or minimize who they are.
Jesus’ brother, James, didn’t always believe Jesus’ words. He was skeptical that someone who was birthed from the same womb as him could ever have salvation to offer. It was the resurrection that brought clarity for the skeptic, James. Maybe you’re a skeptic and can relate to James. The Resurrection of Jesus opened His eyes and sometime after it, he wrote about our words. James said our tongue is a fire. It’s dangerous! Maybe you’re like me, and you’ve gotten in trouble with your spouse, parents, children, classmates, coworkers, friends, and enemies by what you’ve said. James, once a skeptic of the shape of God’s love writes, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
I have to remember to connect my language with the source of my love.
One of Jesus’ first followers, John, writes a letter to us explaining where our love comes from. He shares simply, “We love because he first loved us.” Our motivation for love and the source of our love come from the God who loved us first. How does God love us? John writes in another place, a conversation Jesus had with a man looking for clarification and understanding in the chaos too. Jesus explained simply, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” This love from God is founded in salvation and sacrifice.
We need simplicity and clarity. Jesus gives us that in the words He speaks here. When Jesus speaks, it comes from love. It comes from courage. He is brave as He speaks, brave simply for showing up on this earth, vulnerable as a man walking around, just like one of us. As God alone, Jesus could never die. When He takes on humanity and is born as a man, He makes Himself vulnerable.
We are vulnerable as humans, like it or not, but we are a different kind of vulnerable, brave vulnerable with this love of God in us. God invites us to share this shocking vulnerability of His in the way we speak to others. He also gives us confidence in the Spirit of God echoing into our souls continuously—God loves us, He sacrificed for us—then we can echo life into others. We connect the love with the language:
You are loved.
You know, most days I need to know I’m loved. I need words to come out of someone’s mouth to remind me I’m lovable. It’s silly. Honestly, I’ve known God my whole life. I know the a,b,c’s of Jesus died and rose to save me, but deep down, it remains hard to believe in the chaos that is life. Some days feel dark, some days just feel like the blah of forgotten or discarded by our co-workers, our neighbors, or someone in our family. The people God puts in my life are no accident. I know God wrote them into my story with purpose for this day. Sometimes that purpose is to remind me I am loved, and sometimes that purpose is to be the one shouting from the mountaintop for someone else they are loved when it’s so hard to believe. I don’t know how people do love without Jesus. It takes so much energy to love brave as it is, knowing God loves me, sacrifices for me, helps it move from improbable at best, to possible.