Luke 9:6 (CEV)
6 The apostles left and went from village to village, telling the good news and healing people everywhere.
So I had already written and scheduled the studies for this week, but I’m taking an online course by Brené Brown at CourageWorks called ‘The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting’ (because I definitely am an imperfect parent, so who couldn’t use a little encouragement about that?) and something she said really jumped out at me, and made me come back to this last verse from yesterday’s study.
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honour the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”
And I got thinking of the ragtag group of disciples we were introduced to way back in Luke 6:12-16. I thought about how these guys were the least and the lost and the last of Israel. How they probably came to Jesus full of self-doubt and incredibly low in the self-confidence department. I thought about how many of them had probably experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as poverty, the death of a parent, or witnessing violence around them. I thought of all of these things and then I wondered – what gave these guys what they needed to go out and tell people good news and heal people?
Jesus hasn’t died and been raised again yet.
The Holy Spirit hasn’t come on them the way it will in Acts 2.
But something has already happened to the scared, bitter, outcasts that Jesus gathered up around Galilee to turn them into people who had the capacity to go out with the Kingdom message.
And I think that the difference is the love that they have experienced from Jesus – a love that is big enough to begin to cultivate and nurture love in the disciples, even before they have much of a capacity to offer it in return.
Richard Rohr says that ultimately the very core of God’s being is love. So when Jesus shows up, the infinite source of love shows up as well. And in relationship with love, the ragtag disciples experience transformation. In relationship with love, they gain power. In relationship with love, love is cultivated in them to the extent that they have love to offer to others that flows out of the love Jesus is developing in them.
Do you want to live a life of love for the broken world around you? Then you have to do it in relationship with love.
None of us, out of our own hurt or pain or brokenness, possess the capacity to love others like Christ calls us to by ourselves… But ALL of us, regardless of our hurt or pain or brokenness, can be transformed more and more into the kind of people Jesus calls us to be so that we can love like he loves, if we start by cultivating a relationship with our God of love.
- Do you know how much Jesus loves you? Or is this something you, like me, struggle with?
- How easy do you find it to love yourself? (Is there any correlation between the answer to the first question and the answer to the second???)
- What is that love for yourself based on? (Is it based off of things you have accomplished, how you live your life, or who you are at the core of your being?)
- How often do you take time to cultivate your love for yourself in relationship with Jesus?
- What practices help you to cultivate that love?
- What things do you do that make it harder for you to experience that sense of love?
- What would it look like for you to take time this week to cultivate a more loving view of yourself through the lens of Jesus’ love for you