The Ways of Love©

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
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11 thoughts on “The Ways of Love©

  1. It is so good to see you writing again! I love reading your words of wisdom. I am blessed to be able to call you ” friend”.

  2. “Love is finding it’s home in me” what profound words.
    If only we could keep a welcome mat near our hearts always. It is hard.
    We judge. We close our hearts. We do not see ‘the soul’ of the other person.
    I am just as guilty.
    Where is the fine line?
    I went to a friends house today. The same time I pulled up with an almost three year old girl, her ‘nephew’ showed up. She had to chase him away. A pedophile who the court has said cannot be near small children. She said to me “it probably would be OK.” My heart answer was ‘I would never trust that’.
    Ever. For any reason. Am I to love in that situation? my heart is not big enough.

  3. Oh Jewel, you did it again. This is beautiful! I loved the phrase, “I couldn’t find my way into the doorway of acceptance until I let go of the ruler.” Profound and true words. I love how when we REALLY understand our position in Christ how he pours his love out to those around us and we KNOW it’s his love. I’m with Liz, beautiful, absolutely beautiful. One of your best. I love you, Mom

  4. Hi J 🙂
    Long time has passed – I haven’t been reading any blogs in months and had a long pause in writing myself, too. But just yesterday I caught up with your writing. And even if it’s scarce it’s still as full of wisdom and blessings as before. I especially loved this post because it’s something I keep wondering about in Christians – myself included. I don’t think they even understand what judging really is! And what you said of the two men… I think you’re very brave to write that. And I love that you did. That’s what I taught to my girl when she was wondering if she can be friends with a girl who loves girls… I just hope I could be more brave and write/talk about it like you. Well I’m not, so I’m just trying to live it and hope it shows.
    Be blessed and keep writing! You are a true Jewel 🙂

  5. I can’t find the words to describe the beauty I find in this post. It brought tears to my eyes and a million Amens in my heart. Love. Just simple love. That is the “secret” . Listen to the love He has deposited in our hearts and soul and live from that. That is all and that is enough. I love you!

  6. Thank you Father for finding a home in Julie! For even giving us a ‘way of love’ – for without You, Father, any one of us – regardless of our sin – is dead. You, Father bring light and life and love. Thank You for Your profound work in the heart of Julie and all the ways You have expressed Yourself through her heart to mine.

    Love you Jewelz! This was tremendous!

  7. Your words captured what this life is all about. My mother modeled this type of love throughout my whole life. I have watched her love people the way Jesus loves. She loves every person that crosses her path (homosexuals, homeless people, criminals, and so on). I am a blessed woman to have seen a person live out Christ’s unconditional love so beautifully.

    Keep writing for Jesus, Julie! His words flow so beautifully out of your heart.

    Love and peace to you!
    Amy

  8. I love this, Julie!! I keep hearing, and how will people know we are mine? by your love for each other…. I want to be known by how I love, not by what I do… of course I will do out of love, but the love has to come first… practice indeed and I was blessed with some easy cases at first and he’s teaching me his ways as i trust him to be my source. I needed your encouraging words in this moment. Love you, Julie!!! xoxox

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