Today, I want to invite you to join me in a Living Free Together conversation with Bravegirl Community Founder, Christy Rodriguez. Sometimes, when we step into the shoes of another sister for a moment we learn from her. Today, Christy explains how one woman loved her in a way that drove her straight into the arms of her Savior, out of addiction and into a new identity. ~ Suzie
How do we love people?
How should we love people?
That seems like a straightforward question. One that should be easy to answer, and yet we often make it complex.
I will love you, if you clean up your act first.
I will love you, when you believe like me.
I want to love you, but if I love you people will think I condone your sin or choices.
Jesus is our example. He loved people well. He loved as he showed up. He loved as he walked through life with them. Jesus often shocked people by the way that he loved, because he met people where they were.
He invited himself to two tax collectors’ homes for dinner (Matthew 9:10-12 and Luke 19:1-10). He knelt with an adulterous woman being judged for her sinful act (John 8:1-11). He didn’t ask people to clean up first. And yet, they changed. Love drew them. Truth and mercy opened eyes and mended hearts.
When Jesus made this startling statement, his followers struggled to understand it.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34 NIV).
They were accustomed to a long list of rules that had to be followed to be accepted. Not everyone measured up. In fact, you had to work really hard at it and most fell short.
Jesus simplified love to two things:
Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
Love others like I have loved you.
The first part, we get. But the second? What does this look like? Jesus clarified it for us further.
In today’s Living Free Together podcast, I talk with a good friend, Christy Rodriguez. She tells her story of addiction and battle with same sex attraction, and how one faith-filled woman loved her straight into the arms of Christ and wholeness.
Christy believes that if she hadn’t met a woman that loved her like Jesus, she would have not found her way to him. In fact, her words, “I wouldn’t be here. I’d be dead today.”
As you listen to this conversation, my prayer is that we’ll ask this question.
We may feel that loving someone right where they are is condoning their sin. But, isn’t that where Jesus started with you, with me?
We may feel that we need to inform someone of all the things wrong that they are doing, before showing them the love of Jesus. But how can a person know what is truth, until her eyes are opened by the One who loves her most?
Love is a mixture of grace and truth
It’s not uncommon to see extremes. To see love without truth. To see truth without an ounce of love.
Jesus showed us how to reach out in love, but he also showed us how to honor our Father in the process. As Jesus loved, he never compromised in his own walk with his Father. He never forgot his mission (Luke 4:18-19) or who he was. He never misrepresented the heart of the Father. He continually presented love, followed by truth and grace.
If you want to know how to love, follow Jesus’ example as he knelt beside the broken. As he reached for the lost. As he listened. As he showed people the way to a Father who loved them.
Do we love like Jesus?
That’s our mission.
I hope you’ll get to know my friend, Christy Rodriguez, better. She’s a wife, mom, blogger, speaker and founder of Brave Girl Community. She is an encourager, the first to show up and cheer others on as they follow Christ.
“I’m grateful for this deep—but somehow accessible—word. As a longtime Christ-follower, I have always had the desire, but not always the tools, to be led by the Spirit. I love this inspirational yet ever practical instruction in how to stop letting our hearts be tossed and turned by the whims of the world and instead be led by God himself. Not only has Suzie given us practical steps, but she’s dared us to challenge our own limited thinking about who God is and how much he loves us.” Kathi Lipp, bestselling author, The Husband Project, Overwhelmed, and Clutter Free
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