Love isn’t comfortable

Sometimes God highlights certain things to us, and lately He has been opening my eyes and my heart to the brokenness of this world. I see broken relationships, identities, bodies and hopelessness everywhere I look.
I know that I’ve been empowered to do something about it, but guys, let me be honest; a lot of times I don’t really want to.
I don’t want to go out of my way. I don’t want to get involved in other people’s pain and heartache, yet I know I have to. If I say I believe in loving my neighbor, I have to realize that love is a choice, and making that choice is not necessarily comfortable.

The choice of love is costly. The core of love is to be unselfish. Jesus said to love our neighbor, and to do so requires willingness to give. To love your neighbor is not (always) an irresistable feeling for spontaneous acts of kindness. If that’s what I expect I can spend my entire life waiting to get started with this concept of charity. I’ve been listening to this preacher, who seems to just be head over heals in love with loving on people and I thought maybe that feeling would just show up some day. It didn’t. It’s been really challening to face my own lack of that sort of unconditionality. But God never stops working in us!
In the beginning of this year I got to spend a week in New York City. Hidden behind the glamour and fame of the metropolis, there’s a very sad reality. Coming from Denmark I guess I’m just societally spoiled, but it seemed to me there was a homeless person on every corner. I spent a couple of days feeling super uncomfortable every time I passed a person sitting on the cold ground with a cardboard. It didn’t fit into my time schedule, my budget or anything. And I mean, what could I even do for them? Hand them a few dollars (if the unusual would happen and I actually had some cash)? I had nothing to offer them that could really help them out, so I figured I just wouldn’t contribute to their further humiliation. It was just uncomfortable. But Jesus wouldn’t let me get away with that and one morning He really got me.

Love isn’t supposed to be comfortable. Do you think I was comfortable when I was hanging on the cross? I wasn’t, but that is the purest example of love you’ll ever get and I did that for you, sweety“.

Boom. There was no way I could ignore that. It didn’t change my ability to help these guys, but it totally changed my heart towards them.
So I went and spoke to a couple of them, and it ended up being some of the best conversations of the trip. They didn’t ask for anything but being treated with a little dignity and understanding. It was so beautiful, and I got to pray for them, which in the end brings greater blessing to them than the few cents I could’ve dropped in their hat. And a little side note: this feeling of love will often follow after we’ve made the choice.

Now, I’m left with this question: why does it from time to time feel so uncomfortable to take that step? Part of it is just straight selfishness. I don’t always want to deal with other people’s mess because I don’t want it to become my mess. And then, deep down, burried underneath my confidence I found this little thing called fear of man. It’s old and stubborn and always asks the same questions. What will they think of me? If I fail, will they despise me? What if they hurt me? What if I can’t help them after all, isn’t it better not to try then?  But there’s a louder voice answering. It’s the word of God.

There’s no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. 

You see? 1 John 4:18 tells me, that there’s no room for fear if I choose to love. So, fear of man, you better shut up!
In retrospect, I still have a long way to go, but at least I want to go now. Wanna come along?




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