Despite the mushy picture of Jon and I, I am not just talking about loving your significant other fearlessly. I am talking about loving everyone (friends, family, co-workers) fearlessly. I wanted to share some wisdom with you all that I received from Without Rival by Lisa Bevere that kept me up for hours thinking about who I was, how I treated others, and why I needed to change.
Loving someone is frightening. Truly loving someone sometimes means you are giving them the ability to hurt you but really you are trusting them wholeheartedly. Anyone know any great relationships rooted in jealousy or insecurity? Loving someone fearlessly means you are letting someone make mistakes and not cleaning up the glass when the cup hasn’t broken.
C.S. Lewis said it so well, “to love at all is to be vulnerable.” I guarantee there is one person reading this post thinking that vulnerability is a weakness. Was it weak for Jesus to be stripped and hung on the cross when He could have easily stopped the crowd and walked away? Harsh, I know. But Jesus showed extreme vulnerability, more than we can even imagine, to show God’s love to us. This is why we can love fearlessly. Jesus already did the hard work for us- He gave us the strength to be vulnerable.
When Lisa Bevere said this in Without Rival, it shook me a little, “love cannot flourish in the company of its rival, fear.” Hate is not the rival of love- fear is. Lisa flipped 1 Corinthians 13 to say fear instead of love:
“Fear is impatient and unkind while it envies and boasts; it is arrogant and rude. Fear insists on its own way; it is irritable and resentful; rejoices at wrongdoing, rather than in truth. Fear bears nothing, believes nothing, hopes nothing, endures nothing. Fear will end.”
Fear reacts and jumps to conclusions while love listens and believes for the best. Don’t you want a friendship, a romance, or a relationship with your family full of joy, honesty, hope, and trust?
Often times we have to step out in faith alone with Christ. When I chose to love Jonathan, I had no idea if he loved me back. It was absolutely frightening and the fear never left. I was scared stiff for nearly a year that he was going to cheat on me (reoccurring nightmare) or that he didn’t love me as much as I loved him. It paralyzed me and it paralyzed us. I was holding on to past relationships and past hurt that I didn’t realize still stung. I was attaching all of my fear and regret onto him.
God doesn’t fear us. He loves us. The way in which God loves us is the way in which we should love the world. People make mistakes but until they do love them fearfully and wholly and allow them to be their own person. Don’t shut yourself out of their life before you’ve even walked in.
The following quote by Kent M. Keith is a quote that Mother Teresa often spoke and kept beside her. This is something each and every one of us should live by for it is how God would want us to live.
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Love them anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friend and true enemies.
The good you do tofay will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor undersogs but follow only the top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyways.