Most of you know that right now our family has been called to care for 2 young children. Guys, this is not anything we are ‘tooting our own horn’ about. It is so overwhelming most days. God has been working in my heart as we find our way every moment in this journey. Reckless Love by Cory Asbury has been an anthem for us in these months.
Most people know this song. They sing it, love it. Some people question it and think it’s overplayed. Whatever your opinion, think about this perspective: think of singing this song in relation to the people God has called you to love.
We are to be an extension of God’s hands and feet to every person we encounter. We are vessels of His love. So, if His love is reckless, shouldn’t we be as well? The bridge of this song is so incredibly powerful in this regard. This is where it gets to me. Read it:
“There’s no shadow You won’t light up, mountain You won’t climb up coming after me.
There’s no wall You won’t kick down, lie You won’t tear down coming after me.”
Would I be this extreme to love someone with the Everlasting Love? If God would kick down walls and give His all for someone, shouldn’t I too? This is completely opposite of our culture! We are fed these expectations of protecting ourselves and setting up expectations we call “boundaries”. As I have been singing this song over and over, I put names in it to help me see what God is really saying.
“Would I kick down walls and tear down lies and leave all others behind to find
Or for Trevor? [yes]
Or Jonathon? [yes]
Or a foster kid? [yes]
Or their biological family? [uhh. . .maybe?]
Or the single mother at church? Or a gay coworker? Or an illegal immigrant? [ouch]
Can I overwhelm all these people with God’s love? Can I give myself away for the sake of Christ?
We are constantly talking about how awful our world is or how broken we are. You’re not wrong, but what are we DOING about it?! I can help make my world a better place, but sometimes my life seems filled with unlovable people! I can love my kids – that’s easy (sometimes). But how about a “Trump supporter” or a “Hillary supporter”? It’s a bit tougher, right? I disagree with ‘people like that’ at a fundamental level!
I have been in many conversations where people (or myself) will state an opinion on why someone is ‘doing bad things’, i.e. “Well, their mom is a mess” or “He’s lazy” or “They don’t get support at home” or “he’s young and ignorant”, etc. I encounter people who make a mess of their lives because of past mistakes made by themselves or others around them. You do too. In my classroom, in my church, on my kids’ sports teams, in my family, everywhere I turn there is someone else who has been hurt and is acting out of their brokenness. Even just in typing this I am thinking “I act out of my wounds and brokenness ALL THE TIME”. I think the first thing we should be saying in situations where we are judging is: Hello, I do the same thing!
While I am very well aware that God has found me with His “reckless” love, I’m certain that many others do not know that. I’m not talking about unbelievers or people who don’t trust in Jesus. I am referring to God’s children! God’s broken down, discouraged, hurting, Chosen People. This goes back to every line in this song “Reckless Love”.
How much better would our world be if we practically and literally did those ridiculous things for people? If I am discouraged and stressed and feeling hurt by something, how completely awesome would I feel if someone actually left their workday to help me? Or sacrificed an event they had to find me? Or sit and read me God’s Truths over and over until I could feel them? Would hurting people feel just a little less wounded or walk with their head held just a tad bit higher or lash out at others just a tiny bit less if you or I acted with a reckless, ridiculous, over the top kind of love towards them? I know from experience on both sides of that equation that it is such a humbling and honoring thing!
Now, I know that there is a level of responsibility that God expects from us as Jonathon and I (and all of us) care for our own family. You can’t give away all your money and invite current drug addicts to live with you and neglect your kids’ for the sake of all these other people. There are boundaries that are healthy and necessary. I have learned a lot about setting healthy boundaries with my empathetic heart! But I think we put up what we like to call ‘boundaries’, but really they are preferences.
The honest truth is that the people that you might see as ‘the least of these’ or even just people who need love and support are going to be different. That’s why it is so easy to say ‘we need to help people’, but SO much harder to do. Scenarios look like this: ‘Those people” smell heavily of cigarettes, and I have to teach my kids to not say embarrassing things about it. Sometimes “those people” have survival skills, but they don’t have hygiene skills. Interacting with “those people” could mean awkward conversations or extra long phone calls in order to be their support. Maybe you have to skip going out for a meal with your friends because you bought a load of groceries for someone. Your spouse, your kids, your parents, your pets, whoever will have to wait for you or cover for you or give you a little grace sometimes. That is the give and take in community that God calls us to have!
I remember one time my parents were helping a family out who didn’t have a wash machine. My mom had filled our “Big Blue Suburban” with clothes that had been dirty for weeks. She picked us up from school with a disgusting odor coming from our vehicle. That is a clear example to me of kicking down walls for someone to show them Jesus’ love. Would Jesus do that for that family? The answer is a resounding YES. This is not the typical “I’m serving Jesus by only working with people I already know” or “I’m going to pick the most convenient ministry at church to help with” way of serving our Lord.
Friends, Jesus would sit with people who’s clothes were dirty and eat meals with people who smelled like smoke or drive someone to rehab or listen to someone who used bad language in His presence. I know He did!
This song, above all other things, makes me think “what have I done this week to give part of myself away to someone?”. It seems a bit controversial to use that phrase “give yourself away”, but this is how I see it: God lives in me. He continually makes me whole. He has called me to give of myself to ALL others – foster kids, my husband, my own kids, friends, neighbors, etc. That is how I honor and serve God – by giving parts of myself to others. The key to that is that I’m not just giving stuff away, I am also receiving parts of others while being filled by God Himself. I must allow others to pour into my life! It may not be theologically sound, but that’s how God has called and convicted me to love others.
I know this is a long post. But all of these details are necessary. So as I close it out, let me get preachy:
Are you letting people around you know how valued and loved and extraordinary they are by giving of yourself, by tearing down walls and speaking truth and doing whatever is in your power to do for their benefit? Are you chasing after that person who needs to be helped? Are you climbing mountains and leaving all others behind to make sure they know and feel this love God gives us without any conditions?
How much healing would a single mom feel if someone paid for her groceries or listened to her stresses or watched her hyperactive kids for a day? What if someone made phone calls for her or made obvious sacrifices for her family? Not to get glory from anyone else, but to GIVE glory to God. God wants to see her heart heal and her stresses relieved. AND HE CALLED HIS OWN PEOPLE TO PRACTICALLY AND LITERALLY HEAL HER HEART. This might mean you have to teach your own kids to be kind or share or eat at a place they don’t like. (But this is the best way for your kids to grow and learn to serve others! They will survive, I promise! I am a product of this method of serving, and my boys who were raised in abuse do it too!)
Listen to the song again – “fights til I’m found”, “overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love”. Do the people you live with or the people you are serving or the people you are ministering to or the people you’re raising know that God’s love will never ever EVER stop pursuing them no matter what their sexual orientation or their economic status or their skin color or their career choice or their bad language or their parenting style or ANYTHING!?! Friends, if they don’t understand that, are we doing our job as Christians of being Christ to others?!
I fail daily, sometimes moment by moment at this. But I am more and more convicted that when I love someone else, and then I decide when I feel the need to stop helping or loving them, that is not what God does. That’s not what He did for me! He gave everything, even is life to make sure that I was cared for, I was saved, I was forgiven, I was safe, I was loved. Are not all human beings made in His image? Did He not do that same thing for every person? Newsflash: it doesn’t matter if you get anything in return! God says He’s saving that for later!
I have heard it said that even if only 1 person lived on Earth, God still would have came and died for that 1 person to save them. HE COMES FOR THE ONE.
How are you sacrificing your life for “The One”? Not something that you check off a list everyday, but actually making sacrifices that you can feel for the hurting person God has placed in your life?
Friends, let’s be reckless.