10.07.2008

More on His Agape and Ours

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." I Corinthians 13:4-7



I recently put my ipod on the playlist that has all my music, and had it shuffle . . . and heard these lyrics by Leslie Phillips, for "No One But You" off of "Recollection":

"Who will love me through change, good or bad,
And stay true if I win or I lose?
Who won't forget me when I hide my face?
Who will forgive me when I'm accused?

No one but you, no one but you, no one but you!

Who will tell me the truth to my face
And not use it to run me down?
Who will lead me to water, and lead me to drink,
But not leave me to drown?

No one but you, no one but you, no one but you!

Who do I have in heaven but you?
And on earth there's no one as true!
Who have I in heaven but you?
And on earth there's no one that's true!

Who lets mercy come dance on the graves
Of the pleasures we've strangled with greed?
Whose dreams can shatter the real world
And drive out the darkness so I can see?

No one but you, no one but you, no one but you!"

And as I reflected on how true that was of the Triune God -- it is in God the Father, in Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit that I have the only real experience of that kind of Agape Love -- I also reflected on the way I experience that in those whom I know to really know God.

Those who know God have enough personal experience of the way He "lets mercy come dance on the graves of the pleasures we've strangled with greed", and they just hold steady in loving those around them that are doing the things that they will later deeply regret. That doesn't mean that they never confront, and it certainly doesn't mean that they don't speak the truth about what they see when the Holy Spirit leads them to do so. But it does mean that they don't break off the relationship . . . however much injury may lead them to reformulate the relationship so that it is a relationship of agape and not one of abuse.

As I re-read my blog over the past few years, I see a lot of frustration over the way that others in the church don't seem to understand this whole dynamic: "What is agape love and what are 'healthy boundaries' or 'healthy accountability'?" At this point I don't really feel that frustration anymore!

At this point I am grateful for the "no one but you" that is the Triune God, and I am grateful for the grace and mercy in the wonderful and strong followers who are interwoven among the weaker ones, and I am grateful for the ability to practice this kind of love myself, that for you I might be as close to the "no one but you" as you can find outside of the perfection of God's love.

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other."

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