My wife and I had an argument. I considered it a disagreement, but she disagreed with that assessment. It got a little heated. It ended because we ran out of time and energy to resolve it. She withdrew. I sulked. The next morning, things hadn’t changed much.
Have you been there? Are you still there? Maybe with your spouse. Maybe with your boss or co-worker. Maybe with a former friend you haven’t spoken to in years. A family member. Do you have a broken relationship?
Jesus is in the repairing relationships business. He went to extraordinary lengths to repair our relationship with him. His process is unique. His plan is revolutionary. You see, even though we are the ones who broke the relationship with him, even when we were clearly in the wrong and he was right, he went first.
How crazy is that? He didn’t wait for us to come to our senses. He didn’t wait for us to apologize first. He wasn’t going to let us just walk away without first demonstrating his love for us. He stepped up to bridge the gap. He pursues us. He goes first.
We’re so petty. At least I know I am, and I’m assuming you’re the same. We get mad. We feel righteous, even if we are in the wrong. We expect others to come to us first. They should apologize. They need to admit they were wrong. They need to pay for what they did. I’m the injured party, not them.
God chooses a different path, even though he has every right to act like we do. He “so loved the world he gave his one and only son,” to pay the price to bridge our relational gap.
He believes that “love covers a multitude of sins.” Not ignoring our sins, but actively covers them, absorbs them, pays for them.
His love treats us with “patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.”
His forgiveness pays the price of our sin. He lets us off the hook. He believes and lives this value: Love goes first.
You see, He is “reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” He wants us to “love each other in the same way” he loves us. He wants us to love first. He wants us to bridge the gap. He wants us to pay the price for other people’s sin against us. In fact, that’s how Jesus wants the world to know us, by how we “love one another.”
Love goes first. It’s what it does. Want to test your love? How often are you going first to repair a relationship? To ask for forgiveness, even if they are more in the wrong? How quickly will you swallow your pride and willingly accept the consequences of what they did to you, no longer holding them responsible, really forgiving them?
I’m not great at this value yet, but I’m working on it. If I am proud of something, let it be that I go first. That I demonstrate real love first. There’s no better thing to be proud of.
What relationships do you need to go first with? Who do you need to call or take to coffee or facebook? Jesus went first for us. Let’s love like that.