Learning to be Loved

Being loved is not easy.  It is the first part of the mission statement of our church.  “To understand the gospel of Jesus Christ,” summed up by the two simple words – Be Loved.

Yet how are we at that?  I find myself busily working to do the work of God, actively engaging in God’s kingdom mission, struggling to find the right ways to speak, the right things to do, the appropriate methods of ministry in a culture wrecked by the fall.  Yet, sometimes I forget to simply “be loved.”

In my house there is a little piece of broken wood on the top step. I find myself ignoring it.  I sort of avert my eyes from it whenever I pass either over or under it.   I know that if I pay too much attention to it, I will either feel the shame from living in the house for four years without dealing with it, or actually have to do the work of fixing it.

Broken step

Are our lives any different?  Aren’t there a million different broken things in the houses of our hearts?  Aren’t there places we should work on?  But the shame of acknowledging them or the pain of working on them keeps our eyes averted from them far too often.

Samuel Rutherford wrote a few hundred years ago:

Peace of Conscience, liberty of prayer, the doors of God’s treasure cast up to the soul, and a clear sight of himself looking out and saying, with smiling countenance, “welcome to me, afflicted soul;” this is the earnest that he giveth sometimes and which maketh glad the heart, and is an evidence that the bargain will hold.

Have you ever taken the time to acknowledge the broken parts of your life, the places where your “soul is afflicted,” and at the same time see God’s smiling face calling out “welcome to me.”

The act of being loved means to see our broken steps, to see the shame and the pain in our lives and yet at the same time to see that smile of God which he offers to us along with his welcome.

This is what it means to be loved.  Let us be a people who are learning to be loved.