As I was re-reading and editing my last post, Well, It’s A Little Bit About Us, the thought kept floating through my mind that for God to truly love us (versus controlling us like robots) there is an incredible amount of risk involved, our ability to choose. He has exposed Himself and made Himself vulnerable. He has, in some sense, given us the ability to actually hurt Him.
He could have created Adam and Eve without free will, but He didn’t. Not only did He give them the ability to choose, He created the choice itself. He created the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Not only did He create both trees, He pointed out both trees (as a parent I would have just camouflaged the tree I didn’t want them to eat from so they would never know it was there). And might I add, by saying, “Don’t” there may have been some provoking involved. He almost seems to have forced a choice early on in the relationship.
He made Himself vulnerable over and over throughout Israel’s history. Even when He, God Himself, the One who had just rescued them from Egypt, tried to speak to the people at Mt. Sinai they threw their hands over their ears and told Him to speak through Moses. They couldn’t handle it.
His people rejected Him over and over, but God kept loving, kept being Love, (See 1 Corinthians 13) kept extending Himself to us, reaching out to us.
God made Himself vulnerable by giving us the ability to choose, but He wasn’t afraid of our choices. He wasn’t terrified we would choose poorly and forever wreck things.
Why? Because Jesus was already part of the plan. In fact, Jesus was The Plan from the beginning.
Jesus gave us a new commandment, to no longer just love our neighbor as ourselves (old covenant), but to love others as He has loved.
How did He love? By controlling our every move and giving us a sure-fire, mistake proof, how-to manual to achieve prosperity and pain-free living? (Some would argue that the Bible is that mistake proof, how-to manual, but I find it interesting how little detail the Bible actually gives us for day-to-day living and in fact guarantees us suffering and tribulation in this life).
He made Himself vulnerable to us. He gave all of Himself to us. He squeezed all of Himself into a tiny earth suit and arrived here on planet earth in the most vulnerable way possible, as an infant. In the womb, in a manger, on the run from Herod, at home (His brothers weren’t always nice to Him), in ministry (one of His closest friends was the betrayer), at His trial and on the cross. He made Himself vulnerable in every possible way. He gave us not only the opportunity to hurt Him, but to kill Him.
But that’s how He loves. He took the risk. He allowed us the opportunity to embrace or reject, to love or inflict pain.
Jesus made Himself completely vulnerable to us. He risked pain and suffering to love us. He freely loved, and still does, while giving us the freedom to choose our response.
If we are to love as He loved, can we do that without making ourselves vulnerable to others? Is there a safe way to love? Can love possibly be pain-free? And can we truly love anyone if we place expectations on how they are to respond to our love?
Jesus, I don’t understand it and I can’t muster it up on my own. Love others through me. Tear down the walls of fear, self-protection and control. As I abide in You, abide in me and bear much fruit.