One Plot…A Million Movies
Anyone who has watched three or more Hallmark movies, now knows the plot for every Hallmark movie that follows. A young woman leaves her high-pressure, big city career to travel back to her small hometown. On the way, her car breaks down and the man who operates the only wrecker service comes to help her. The tension between them is immediate and palpable. Their dislike for each other cuts through the air. At this point, there is one thing you can be sure of, these two will fall madly in love before the final credits roll.
As I was thinking about this, I thought how this does not even deserve to be called love—not when compared with God’s love. God’s love begins with His character and His choice, followed by His action.
John 3:16 KJV For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Deuteronomy 7:7-8 KJV The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: (8) But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Romans 8:38-39 KJV For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God’s agape love loves without thought of return. So, this is NOTHING like a Hallmark movie. And then I realized, that this is exactly like the beginning of a Hallmark movie. The tension between God and mankind is immediate and is palpable. An unrighteous sinner standing before the holy God.
For God to love you, or me, or any other human being is the most unlikely love combination ever imagined—the Holy God and the heinous sinner. The script of eternity teaches that God loves the unlovable, the chief of sinners. His enduring love for the prodigal, His forgiveness of the unpayable debt, His use of Peter after his string of failures, and His love for me are proof of His unlikely, yet enduring love.
The difference with the Hallmark movie is that God, in eternity past, chose to love me, to choose me to be His child, before the movie begun, even before the script was written. He chose to love me before I was born, even though He knew me and what an inconsistent life I would live even after knowing Him as Savior.
And God asks me to choose to love others—even though they may be the most despicable folks I know. It is not an emotion that is supposed to slowly overtake me as they prove themselves lovable. It is to be a choice that grows within me to become an action and then a multiplicity of actions.
I do not like the saying that says, “I love you even though I do not like you.” I hear God saying that I am the “apple of His eye”. That He sings over me. I hear Jesus saying that he wants to “gather His wayward children as a mother hen gathers her chicks to her breast.” He sets His affection on a grumbling, disobedient, bunch of people who never seem to get it right. He washes the feet of the disciples in the upper room—including both feet of His betrayer—Judas. I wonder if Jesus even spent a little extra time washing and wiping Judas’s feet, just to let him know that He loved him. That is love. “Like” is never mentioned. I think that when God loves us, that “liking us” never enters His mind or heart. He loves me—period. I am His.
I have heard many preachers say, especially on Mother’s Day, that a mother’s love is most like God’s love. But mothers, even the best of them, are not the standard for God. He says (Isaiah 49) that a mother may forget to nurse her baby, but He will never forget us. He says we are engraved on the palms of His hands.
He sings over me. He stands on the porch and yearns for the prodigal me to return. Other times, He goes out into the darkest night to seek me, the lost sheep, and bring me home. He is preparing a place for me to dwell with Him. He is coming back for me to take me to that place to be with Him—forever. That is love as God does it.
And my love is to be just as decisive and just as actionable as His love. And just maybe, if I begin to make an effort to love that way, other church members will begin to love that way too. And just maybe, here and now, in this life, the outside world would begin to notice that we, you and me, just have to be Christ’s disciples.
That would be a good thing.
John 13:34-35 KJV A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.