Restorative Love

My students are working on a Career unit right now which started with completing surveys related to their career interests, skills and work values. As we were talking about the results I explained to them how surveys like this will sometimes reveal something to you about yourself that you might not have realized.  For example, my top “work value” is the workplace which means I value honesty and integrity and a friendly work environment. This is so true about me and after working for years in sales and seeing lack of integrity and unethical business decisions, I definitely value honesty in the workplace. Funny enough, income was last on my list…

Last Sunday in church was one of those “ah-ha” moments for me as well. Verses I’ve read many times before, in fact topic that is very familiar…loving others. This week though, it struck me fresh and explained something within me. Our church is going through 1st John, and for background the book centers around relationship and fellowship – with both God and others. This week’s text:

1 John 3:16-18 (ESV)
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay
down our lives for the brothers.  But if anyone has the world’s goods
and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does
God’s love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk,
but in deed and truth. 

What is real love?  {Not romantic love.} 
Real love is selfless: freely given, no expectation of repayment or reciprocation, no strings attached.
Real love is restorative: always seeks to restore in relationship, honor, dignity, health, identity, etc. 
Before love can be given, a domino effect takes place…recognize and receive God’s love….love God….love self – realize created for purpose and have identity…then love others. 
I have mentioned before about being disappointed in friendships, that my level of investment is deep, I don’t do surface well.  My “ah-ha” was this: restorative love matters to me in relationships in my life.  People in my circle going through the trenches, I want them to see hope, to know love, and to reach restoration. 
The same that God wants of us for himself, he wants us to give to others…I know, dear God, that you care nothing for the surface, you want us, our true selves, and so I have freely given from the heart, honestly and happily.  1  Chronicles 29:17 (Msg)
What does that love look like? 
Aware:  recognize the need of love around us.  Just today I was reminded as I was reading student assignments how many people have an area of their life they struggle.  Friendship, families, moving, new schools, new communities. That applies to all of us. 
Willing:  decide to love regardless of the cost.  Liking people is neat.  Loving people is messy.  You have to be willing to get your hands dirty, potentially be inconvenienced. 
Engage:  In both deed and truth.  Point them to the truth of Christ, he gave us the greatest love “for the joy set before him endured the cross” Romans 12:2.  Put our willingness into action. 
Fitting that today is World Kindness Day.  Take a chance on someone.  Reach out. Love them.  Expect nothing in return.  Point them to hope in Jesus and restoration. 
Be loved,

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