Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsThursday 7 Jan 2021Morning Devotions with Chris Witts
It was Paul the apostle who said something very dramatic when he was talking about love. He said, “What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).
How sad it would be to get to the end of your life as an old person and realise, I didn’t love others the way I should. It would then be too late. This is a big topic, but nevertheless, an important one. Sometimes people say, What’s the point of trying to love others? It only gets thrown back in my face. They mean they have had unfortunate experiences when their gesture of love has been misunderstood or rejected, and they don’t want to get hurt again.
But this is life—you will get hurt sometime in this life, and your love to others may not be properly understood or appreciated. It is God who says, “Just as I have loved you, so you should love one another”. It’s a commandment from God himself, and we need to take that seriously.
Do You Feel Unworthy of Love?
Dr John Townsend wrote a very helpful book, Loving people: How to Love & be loved. He says this: “Love is not always foremost on our minds. We may forget about it for a while or avoid it for some reason. We get involved in our work, our activities, our children, or some mission in life. It may leave our awareness—but it always returns”. He talks of going to a funeral and hearing tributes to a friend Howard who had died in his 80s, and people had the chance to get up and say something about him. And here were some of their memories: “He cared about me, he didn’t judge others, I knew he was there for me, he drew people to him, he changed my life for the better”. These are statements about love, and the individual who knew what love really meant.
There can be a problem when people feel they are not capable of being loved—as if something is wrong with them. And I have often heard people say about those who love them things like:
- I don’t understand what they see in me
- I’m not really worthy of their love
- They are so good, they shouldn’t waste their time with me, they deserve better
You might think these are lines out of some movie—but ask any counsellor and I’m sure they would hear those words every day. People everywhere question the love that others have for them, people everywhere feel that somehow, for some reason, they are not good enough to be loved—that they do not deserve it, and should not have it.
And people everywhere as well, turn aside love for other reasons, because they:
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- don’t want to get hurt again,
- do not have enough time to get involved,
- feel it requires too much effort.
And so they miss love’s transforming power. What a shame—indeed what a tragedy—to miss out on love when we feel worthless and loveless!
Accept God’s Love
Thank God that he does not listen to our excuses or pay attention to feelings. For example, what we read in the Bible in the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a priest, who God had chosen to be his spokesman. He asked Jeremiah to be his spokesman, but he was reluctant. He felt he wasn’t good enough: “I’m not a good speaker, Lord, and I’m too young”. But God persisted: “I promise to be with you and keep you safe, so don’t be afraid. The Lord reached out his hand and he touched my mouth. Jeremiah, I am your Creator, and before you were born, I chose you to speak for me to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:4-10)
The whole message of the Bible, the whole message of Jesus is this: that God sees who we really are; he sees us as he saw Jeremiah in his mother’s womb; and he finds us to be precious and important and able. God loves us, and accepts us—and God’s love, transforms us.
God knows what he is doing, as do those people in your life, who have told you that they love you and who have persisted loving you—even when you thought that you did not deserve their love or warrant it in any way at all. The noise in your life, the thoughts and feelings that distract you and make you feel so alone and afraid, can be transformed by the power of love, into songs of joy and praise to God..
Let that love of God into your life. Accept the fact that God treasures and values you even when others may not. Accept that for some reason God has chosen you to be his precious child just as he chose Jeremiah while he was yet in the womb.