Love Me, Love Me Not
Feb 26, 2010
“I’ll always love you, but I’m just not in love with you anymore.”
Ever had those words said to you? Maybe you have, but I hope not- they’re awful to hear. That sickening feeling in your stomach, twisting and sinking down inside, trying to make sense of it. What did I do wrong? How could the love have died? Is there someone else? How can I fix it? Crushing.
To me, it’s just about as hard to fathom that Jesus would share this same kind of pain. His words to the church in Ephesus sound like those of a lover who has been rejected. The same kind of pain. The same kind of grief. And yes, anger, too.
What bothers me about it isn’t that Jesus has feelings- I’m pretty glad that He does. Not that He loves us, since I’ve heard that so many times. But that ordinary people like me can actually cause Jesus pain. That I could hurt God’s heart. How can that be? How can the all-powerful God allow Himself to be so vulnerable? How could He open Himself up this way?
But He does. It’s pretty clear. Apparently our dutiful worship and diligent Christian service aren’t sufficient to delight God’s heart. He’s looking for more than plodding obedience, solid doctrine. He wants us. He wants our love.
Don’t you find yourself asking, “Why?” Why would God care whether I love Him or not? What difference does it make to Him? But it’s just inescapable. He wants our hearts. Incredibly, He puts His own heart out there first. Vulnerable, even exposed. Our God sets Himself up for potential rejection. Like I said, I don’t get it.
Of course Jesus is not indifferent to us when our love for Him dims. He has strong, even scary words for those whose love grows cold. Let’s never confuse Jesus with an emotional doormat.
But let’s also not forget that Jesus went first. He put Himself “out there” in the most exposed position imaginable. He loves beyond measure, beyond boundary, beyond what anyone in their right mind would call prudent. That’s just how He is.
And what does He want in return? What does He long for in exchange for His love, His heart on His sleeve, on His Cross? You know what. He wants your heart, too.