Scott Hodge

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love?

Aug 28, 2007
11 Comments

Just began reading Peppermint-Filled Pinatas by Eric Bryant this morning.  Already, the book is resonating with me on so many levels with where I’m finding myself at in my journey right now. 

In chapter one, Eric quotes this scripture:

1 John 4:9-12
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Then says this:

Love equals sacrifice…  For too long, I have loved when it was convenient, expedient, or even strategic.  To love to the point where it actually hurts connects more closely to what the word means.  Love has been reduced to "like" or "lust."  Genuine love requires genuine sacrifice." 

Reading this takes me back to a recent conversation with a good friend along these same lines – which was going really well until he threw out this frighteningly unsettling question:

"Can we even call it love if there is no sacrifice involved?"

(Pause here and read it again.)

Great question, isn’t it? 

No.  Actually the question sucks. 

And it sucks because if the answer to that question is a clearcut, black and white "NO" then I’m screwed.  Because, if I’m really honest about it, I know that I tend to use the word "love" without even a hint or shadow of sacrifice way more often than I’d like to admit.

Seriously.  Who in the world came up with this idea that following Jesus is easy?

You want to know what’s easy?  Scott’s way.  I don’t EVER struggle with doing it MY way.  No problem there.  But living the way of Jesus?  Now that’s not easy.

So anyway…  What do you think?  Is it possible to display an action of love without there being any element of sacrifice involved?  Is this as black and white as it seems?  And if so, what does that mean for us?


11 Responses to “love?”

  1. michael says:

    i think of john 15:13. for me it is why i probably love too few. i want it to be isolated to my four friends, wife and girls.
    everyone else is an acquaintance…that’s easier. to love the entire world as christ did is beyond my comprehension.
    acts of kindness are love but not the kind of love we reserve for our inner circle.
    to endure for those that may never know you…that is sacrifice.

  2. Bill Graver says:

    I’ve never thought of it like that before but I believe that it’s true.
    Love — agape love — is all about self-sacrifice and is always focused on others, never on me.
    Scripture says that God IS love — the very definition of the word. Our God demonstrated this love when He humbled Himself, put on flesh, made Himself a servant, constantly gave of Himself, and then died for those who crucified Him.
    The real question is: how can I be like THAT? …or, maybe more appropriately, why am I often NOT like that?

  3. Daniel D says:

    Boy you know how to bring it don’t ya? Straight to the core.
    Toughest question I think we all wrestle with at some point. I’m not just talking about love and sacrifice for others but how my love equates to sacrifice for God 9which I guess are also one in the same). So easy to say “I love you Lord with all my heart and soul” but then look the other way when it comes time to express my words through my actions, especially when no one else is around. How do we move past the lip service of saying we love and move into the real application of exampling what true love is? That’s where the sacrifice comes in and it’s probably something a bit more radical and uncomfortable. I guess that is what makes it so hard but yet so profound and compelling at the same time.
    I know for me that sacrificial love is a journey. Every day I get a little better. Every day a little piece of me submits to Him and as that happens I begin to love others in a way that is deeper than just my words.
    I’ve been looking at how I express LOVE for God in even the simple things…
    Does that mean not spending an exorbitant amount of money on a fancy new car so that I can drive to work right past a slum housing development where some little girl doesn’t have shoes to go to school or food to eat for dinner?
    Does it mean learning to say “I don’t have to be right every time” and moving past petty arguments with people that are based simply on the fact that my ego needs propping up?
    Does it mean stopping for a moment, in the midst of my own self righteousness, when I am ticked off because I have to stand in line at Wal-Mart for 15 minutes… and remember that I need to be thankful for the blessings I have been given?
    Does love mean that I need to stop making everything revolve around me and make it revolve around others?
    We all know the right answers here and can quote the scriptural reference to it as well but the practical application of it is the challenge. To me, learning to express this love is part of learning to live. To live like Jesus.
    That is my goal.

  4. Corbett says:

    Did you read Blue Like Jazz? Miller busted me hard in a similar way when he talked about us treating love as a commodity. If I like you… if you live up to my expectations… if you like me or like I want you to look… then I’ll GIVE you my love.
    Thanks for the heads up about Bryant’s book.

  5. Hey Scott! Great post, thanks for sharing. I hope you don’t mind, but I linked you on my blog! Nuttin but love G!

  6. Vanessa says:

    I agree with the book that there must be sacrifice for there to be a genuine love. To engage in genuine love would not only require sacrifice but also selflessness. Christ’s sacrifice for me was selfless. His love is truly extravagent.

  7. Jim Larson says:

    Sounds like a great book. My own theme verse on this is I John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is, Jesus gave up His life for us . . .”
    I think the thing we ignore or resist the most is the reality that we need to intentionally sacrifice. That thought completely opposes the prosperity thinking of affluence, including affluent Christianity. It means that we need to say to ourselves, “Ok, I’m going to give up _________ in order to love __________ more.” That may be money (or perhaps more to the point, something we intend to do with our money), time, position, etc.
    I relate this to Scott’s video posted a while ago about what people think of Christians. It should shock us to tears that we aren’t seen as the people who are always eager to sacrifice, to give ourselves up for others. But the very fact that it does not shock us to tears shows how far away we are from God’s true heart. Lord have mercy.

  8. Lizzie says:

    I think whether you realize it or not, you do sacrifice a lot for those you love. We could all be living on the edge and doing whatever we want, but many of us choose to settle down with a spouse and raise a family, which having kids in and of itself is a sacrifice. But, just like loving someone, the sacrifice is so worth it in the end, which is why God sent Jesus to sacrifice himself for us in the first place, so we can do the same for others.

  9. Johnny Laird says:

    …looking forward to getting Eric’s book eventually.

  10. I must say I love the discussion. Love- a word that an 8th grade boys says to the girl he has been dating for 1 month. Love a word that Jesus says “if you love me keep my commandments” I would say that would involve some sacrifice. Love-God showed it so many times when dealing with Israel, when He sent His Son to the Cross and so much more. Love-Jesus was always showing love to those society rejected, dying on a cross for His Fathers Glory and our benefit. I would say Biblical Love is Sacrifice.

  11. Eric Bryant says:

    Well put. Is it really Christ-like love if sacrifice isn’t involved? I mean Jesus befriended Judas, His betrayer! He intentionally invested into the life of someone who would hurt and even cause His own death. That is amazing to me. He even loves us!

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