Love is Reciprocal
This post originally appeared in the September 2018 SEAPC Magazine.
For as long as I can recall, I have always known just how much my Savior loves me. I can remember actually sensing His love from the time I was only about six years old. I remember my parents taking us to the church during Lent and watching an old movie, and I do mean old… it was literally in black and white with the dialogue written across the bottom. The images of the torture and crucifixion of Christ as were depicted in this film were forever stamped on my heart and mind.
But it wasn’t just the horror of the scenes which I remember. It was actually some type of a sense of the reality of the Presence of God, and the ultimate sacrificial love that was being poured out. I truly believe that this was the first time I am now able to remember God’s hand upon me, though of course, I was unable to understand any of it. Our whole family was very active in the local church, and I have wonderful memories of good fellowship and wonderful music during those years there.
Unfortunately, I was never taught that it was necessary to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This revelation did not come until I was almost 40 years old. And yet, throughout my life, I somehow knew that God loved me and there was a Jesus. This I never doubted. After I experienced a salvation experience along with the infilling of the Holy Spirit, I began to realize that my love for Him was growing! The fullness of this love was demonstrated to me one time when I was on a mission trip to Mexico. I was in Saltillo, Coahuila when I fell ill with the common malady of missionaries called “Moctezuma’s revenge.” As I was laying on my bed thinking God was surely taking me home on this day, I suddenly began to feel an overwhelming sense of love. I could feel myself slipping away into His Presence deeper and deeper. It felt as if waves were washing over and over me… and it was the realization of how much I loved Him!
Oh yes, I knew how much He loved me, but never before did I know the measure of pure and unadulterated love I had for Him. That was a new and very special revelation which has changed my life forever. For you see, I now carried the ability within me to better love people unconditionally and to begin to see people as God sees them. Often as a pastor, I would be accused of “erring on the side of grace.” But so often I was able to already see the people as He saw them… their potential as brothers and sisters who have been forgiven and restored.
You see, He loves us whether we love Him or not, but it is only when we reciprocate that we have a real relationship with Christ, as God intended.