Perfect Love

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Caring about people can be really tricky sometimes, because people are messy. People are imperfect. They mess up. They say and do things that hurt you sometimes. We say and do things that hurt other people. We let one another down and disappoint each other at times. It's life. Can I be real honest for a moment? I wish I could control people, in a good way, if that makes sense. I wish I could make decisions for people. There have been so many times in my life that people I care about have poured out their hearts to me, telling me about changes they were making, positive things they would start doing, negative things they would let go of. Unfortunately, time and time again, I have watched people fall into the same patterns and destructive behaviors. Each time it cuts into my heart like a knife. These scenarios have created in me the desire to do life for people. If only I could force someone into doing the right thing. If only I could make someone think or see things the way that I do.

I was reflecting on all of this earlier and I started thinking about where God comes into play in all of this. As I presented to the Lord my jumbled web of emotions and my bruised heart, I began to ponder His immense love for us. If anyone has the right to want to control people, it would be God. And He has the power to do so, if He wanted to! If I had that kind of power, I would have created a family of robots, because I don't know that I would have it in me to watch my children walk away from me time and time again. But God doesn't control us. He gives us free will. He does that because He loves us. He does that because He desires to give us the choice to love Him freely. I also believe He does this because He is more interested in our story of growth and our journey with Him than He is with immediate outcomes and forced obedience. He loves us so much that He allows us to fall. He allows us to experience brokenness. He allows us to experience pain, because He understands that all of these things strengthen us and draw us closer to Him. I can't say that I have ever really thought about this before in this way, that it is actually God's goodness that allows us to experience suffering.

Meditating on all of this, I heard these words echo in my mind, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..." (John 4:18). I have alot to learn about fear, especially in my relationships with other people. There are times when other people's actions make me fearful. I get fearful sometimes that people won't change or that they will change for the worst. I get fearful that people will run away and leave. I get fearful that I will get hurt in the process. Anyone else ever feel this way? Lately, I have been learning to let people in despite my fears. The walls have been coming down and that is scary in and of itself. God reminds me in all of this that it will never be my love that changes people. It is His perfect love that brings redemption and transformation to broken hearts and lives. Even when people get it wrong and mess it up, He is there to pick them up and set their feet on solid ground. God wants me to let down the reigns of control. He wants me to trust Him with my loved ones. He wants me to allow His perfect love to expel every fear lurking in my heart. He wants me to know that His is a good Father. He wants me to know that He can be trusted, not only with my own life, but the lives of those I care about. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39) photo credit