Thursday, October 4, 2007

Irrational Love

What manner of love is this: that a man would die for people that He doesn't know, knowing that many of them would still reject His sacrifice? I think often about the selfless sacrifices being made by our soldiers fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and other war ravaged areas of the earth. I think about the fact that many of these men and women are fighting to defend the freedom and liberty that many of us take for granted. Whatever your position may be about the justification of these wars, these men and women that bravely put their lives on the line daily to defend our freedom, don't have a choice.

They are enlisted in an army that requires them to follow orders to the letter. Their very lives, and the lives of their compatriots depend on it. So they fight. Some of them conscientiously objecting to the efficacy of the war, but they fight. That is what soldiers do. They fight wars to defend what they believe in. Some of them give their lives for the cause. You don't become a soldier unless you are willing to go to war and give your life for the cause. Moreover, soldiers get paid to fight. My understanding is that they even get hazardous job pay over and above their basic salaries. Why do they do it you might wonder? I would speculate that the reasons are many and varied. Some do it out of committment; some out of conviction; many out of obligation. But how many do it out of pure, unadulterated love?

That's why Jesus did it. That's why He went to war against the devil, to defend everything He believed in. He did it out of love for you. You see, He believes in you, even when no one else does. The difference between Him and the US soldier is that He has a choice. He is God incarnate after all, and He could have wiped out our world completely and started afresh. But He didn't. He chose to die for the cause, even knowing that many of us would still reject Him and His sacrifice. If the soldiers in Iraq feel hurt and rejected by people criticizing them for fighting a war in which they had no choice to begin with, I wonder how our Savior must feel being criticized and rejected by the very ones for whom He is fighting the war, especially since He has a choice. Then I realize, He isn't hurt by our rejection, He is simply heart broken at the possibility of losing any one of us to the enemy. This is true love.

Even after generations of people had spit in His face, He still loved them.... And yet, it is that very irrationality that gives the gospel its greatest defense. For only God could love like that (Max Lucado - God Came Near)

How does a person remain so focused on a cause in the midst of such abject adversity and criticism? The answer lies in clearly understanding your purpose. Jesus knew why He had come to earth. Nothing that the enemy attempted to do to distract Him worked. The enemy tempted Him with food when He was desperately hungry, knowing that He had the power to turn stones into bread. He tempted Him with a lust for power, suggesting that He throw Himself off the pinnacle of the temple and then save Himself, knowing that He (Jesus) held the power of life and death. And he tempted Him with a desire for possessions, offering to give Him the kingdoms of the earth, forgetting that he was offering the earth to its Maker. Non of these distracted Jesus from His cause because He had the strength of self-mastery. His love for us motivated Him to remain singular in His purpose and vision, and so He gave His life for His creation. What manner of love is that? Have you ever loved anyone selflessly? Would you be willing to share that with me in this post?