They walk through the doors each day, each one with a story. Some come in with a smile, some come struggling with pain that won’t seem to go away, others carry the smell of their addiction on their clothes. They love her they say. She takes the time to listen to their aches and pains. She cares what happens to them. She wants them to feel better. She tends to their needs and they know it. Each are patients of my dear doctor.
One of my favorites was a couple…. of men. Yes, they were gay. They loved unlike many. Each time they walked into the office with kindness on their lips. One of them died, recently. My heart is moved with compassion. Years ago it would not have been this way. I would have seen their sinful choices, secretly judging them in my heart. But my heart has changed. My religious ways are falling off of me. I have come to see them for what they are… men God deeply loves.
It’s interesting for me to think about it all sometimes. These two men who have loved each other well are often condemned by the very people who are inhabited by the God who is love. Something must be amiss in this theology. Somehow Jesus looked beyond the sin and saw us as we were… It wasn’t about the sin, it was about the one created in His image. Jesus had an uncanny way of looking past the sin to see me, and you.
Every day I am given the opportunity. Every day the invitation lies before me. “Love one another as I have loved you.” Some are easy, some are hard. But it all comes back to this.
When I was covered in sin He loved me. He didn’t condemn me for my life choices. He loved me in spite of them. In the beginning, before time began, God created the heavens and the earth because of love.
The more the complexities of religion fall away from me the more simplistic it all becomes.
I would not have seen myself ever getting to this place years ago. My Bible lies on the shelf untouched many days. The words play through my mind from my years of study. I haven’t turned my back on it. It’s not that. It’s the way that God has had with me. He’s pulled me back to the bare bones of living before there were words on a page rich with truth. “Walk in the moments, listen to the Spirit inside, love as He has loved,” He tells me.
In this process I find myself discovering things hidden in the depths of my soul.
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, if I have a faith that can move mountains, if I give all I possess to the poor; if I give over my body to hardship yet I do not have love. It is all for naught. I gain nothing”…. absolutely nothing.
Something is happening in my core as I sit in the walls of that office. I see the transformation that love is bringing to my life. The woman who once focused on a person’s sin choices, quietly judging them in her heart, is disappearing. Love is finding its home in me.
Before you could love me God says, I loved you. Before I did anything, before I understood anything He loved me. Years of performance and striving had kept me on the treadmill of self-righteousness. I couldn’t find my way into the doorway of acceptance until I let go of the ruler. If God wasn’t keeping a tab neither could I. Something changed inside me the day I took Him at face value. I was catapulted into a place I never knew existed. I found His love.
Sick and broken people walk into the doctor’s office each week. Every one of them walking out their journey. A woman known for her abruptness rubs me the wrong way. I know her story though. She’s hurting deep within her bones as her body gives way to MS. It helps to know, yet I am still challenged to stay kind when she walks up to my window with an attitude. I am stretched at my core when she starts with her demands. A soft answer turns away wrath. Will I love? It is the question you know.
As the layers are peeled away I find the simplicity of it all.
All we really need is love…
“Love one another as I have loved you”…
©copyrighted: 2012; Julie L. Todd