So I just officiated my first wedding a couple of weekends ago. It was a beautiful and inspiring depiction of what love can be. My friends that are now married really love and sacrifice their own wants for each other. They not only worry about their own needs but look out for each others needs first and foremost.
I read a passage of scripture during their ceremony that says "This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends." I really reflected on that passage in my preparation of the ceremony. Even in these past couple of weeks I've really been trying to wrap my mind around what this really means and how or if it is seen in my life. So many times I choose to love myself more than I do others. I choose what is best for my life no matter who else it affects and I often get frustrated if that which is best in my life is thwarted in any way. What is it within me that makes it so hard to "Put my life on the line for my friends"? What's funny is that it's hard for me to love my friends and lay down my life for them, yet Christ asks me to go one further. He tells me to love my enemies because anyone can love their friends, but love that He values loves those that may not even deserve it. Then I stand challenged and left pondering if I even grasp this very best way of love that Jesus is talking about here in this passage.
So as I watched my friends dance their first dance and gaze into each others' eyes, I could tell that Love was firmly established in their hearts for one another. That they would "Put their lives on the line" for one another. And I began to ask myself, how do I love everyone in that way? Not in the romantic sense of the word, but truly love people so much that I would not even hesitate to put my life on the line for anyone that came into may path. That is what Christ did through the Cross and what I believe that he calls us to do in our lives.
I read a story about Mother Teresa the other day that depicts this love for others and "Putting her life on the line for others". There was a young man that was helping Mother (that's what everyone in the community called her) in Calcutta. One day he caught a glimpse of Mother's feet and noticed that they were deformed very badly. He wandered how her feet could have ended up like this, but he dare not ask her and offend her. A few days later one of the other sisters there in Calcutta asked the young man if he had noticed that Mother's feet were deformed. She asked him if he wanted to know how they got that way and he nodded his head timidly. The sister went on to tell him that each year the community in Calcutta receives just enough shoes for everyone to have one pair. Mother loved the people of the community so much, even those she didn't know, that she would dig through the piles of shoes and find the worst pair and wear them so that no one else would be stuck with them. She had been doing this for so many years that it had deformed her feet to what they are now. She choose the needs and desires of others, without letting anyone know, so much that it left her deformed. That is Love, and that is putting one's life on the line for others!
So I've walked these last couple of weeks wondering how I can be deformed by Love as Mother was. How can I choose to put my life on the line to love others? How can I dig through the piles of life and wear love so that no one has to put on the worst pair? As I do this am I willing to be so transformed by Love that I may even be scarred and broken in it? When I really answer these questions truthfully, so many times the answer is no. But I want to be one that Lays down my life for others. I want to put on the worst shoes so others don't have to. Let's begin to search through the piles of shoes for each other as Christ followers and for everyone, so that no one is left with the worst. As we do this I believe that our lives and the lives of others will be transformed. Maybe we will be so lucky to be like Mother and become deformed from our love for others. The question is, "Are we willing to put OUR lives on the line?" That's the question we all need to answer.