Today's text: John 15:13: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
This text has always been a mystery to me because I just don't get it. I cannot think of a single person that I would lay down my life for. (Sorry Mom and Kevin...not happening) I have friends who say they would do it for their children or parents - I have one friend who would probably do it for her dog. Not me! Call me selfish if you wish, but there ain't no one on this earth that I think I would willingly step in front of a bullet for. My life is more precious to me than any of my earthly relationships. In fact, even in relationships, I have been pretty up-front about this: "Don't love me so much that you feel you cannot live without me 'cause, while I'll be sad (momentarily) if you leave, I will survive after you're gone."
On this morning's prayer call, we were told of a situation that happened on yesterday where a man stabbed a woman in the neck, killing her. This directly impacted one of the women in our prayer group because she was closely acquainted with the victim and apparently, was present during the incident. I am not sure if this was a love affair gone south, but it reminds me of an incident in my life that I feel compelled to share.
I was 26 when I was dating a (much) younger man. I knew shortly after we started dating that he had an extremely jealous nature and that this would eventually cause problems for us because most of my friends are male. There was one childhood friend in particular that made my boyfriend see red. I knew this, but felt that since I kept assuring my boyfriend (let's call him "Mr. A") that there was nothing going on between me and this person (let's call him "Mr. B"), it would all work out. Foolish girl. One night, I was sick, not feeling well. Mr. A called and I told him I wasn't well. He said he'd see me in the morning. Shortly after that, Mr. B called, found out I was sick and offered to bring me soup or something. He came over and we sat down and started playing a game of Scrabble when all of a sudden, my front door opened and there was Mr. A. [Sidebar: If you ain't married to him, don't give ANY MAN a key to your house!] He was livid! Called me everything but God's Favorite Child and without warning, pulled a gun on me and my friend and calmly said, "I will kill you both and be ok with it" (or something like that - after 17 years, my memory is a little fuzzy) Ok, I don't know if my life flashed before my eyes at that moment or not (like they say it does), but I do know that I began to call on the Lord for deliverance. Obviously, he did not pull the trigger. In fact, I remember him just kind of smirking before he turned around and walked out the door. It was truly God's providence that Mr. A did not pull the trigger and end my young life at age 26. When we talked later (and of course we talked...you do stupid stuff when you are young and foolish and think you are in love), he said he did it because he loved me and if he couldn't have me, he didn't want me to be with anyone else. Or something equally ridiculous. Mr. B and I filed a complaint against him (which we later dropped for a variety of reasons), Mr. A and I stopped dating, and I thank God that my life was spared.
Ok, this is a weird transistion of thought, but this whole "love me or else" makes me think: when Christ volunteered to be a sacrifice for me on Calvary, what was going through His head and heart? I mean, He died so that ALL men (and women) would be saved KNOWING there would be some of us who would reject this gift. He knew that some of us would be like, "yeah, you died, so what? I still don't want your love, your friendship, your sacrifice and salvation. I'm having too much fun doing my own thing, my own way..." See, that is why I am not God, because I would have had to hurt somebody! I'm up here dying on a cross, pierced in my side, thorny crown on my head, bleeding, thirsty, unable to connect with my Heavenly Father - for YOU and you are REJECTING ME! Oh, heck naw! But that's just me - that's not God. And aren't you glad that He is the One who willingly chose to give His life for you? I know I am.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Thank God He considers me His friend. I need to live up to the responsibility of that friendship. I challenge you to do the same.
Have a great weekend everyone. Be blessed.