For this week’s Monday Minute, Jennifer talks about how true love bears burdens. God created us to do life together and has given us some specific instructions for what that looks like. Our love for our friends should be influenced by the Word, not the world’s definition of love.
True Love Bears Burdens
by Jennifer Wake
When I hear the words “Love… True Love,” I instantly think about the movie The Princess Bride. My dear husband is a movie buff. He taught my children to quote movie lines from the time they were toddlers. I joke that their first words were movie quotes. This movie is full of classic lines that we quote to each other. “Inconceivable” is one of the words my children learned from this movie.
Yet as I ponder the Planting Roots theme of “Growing Together,” I am drawn to “Love… True Love.” The true love that God calls us to do every day.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
(John 13:34 ESV)
This love is different from the love reflected in The Princess Bride. This love is how Christ loves us, completely, selflessly. We are called to truly love others. People around us. Some people I don’t even know. I still struggle to figure out what that looks like.
God showed me this week exactly what it looks like to me.
What it Looks Like for Friends to Bear Burdens
I am a very outgoing introvert. Most people who meet me think I am an extrovert. However, I need time alone to sit and ponder, reflect on things around me. Yet when I am sitting alone, sometimes I listen to voices that plant doubts and fears in my mind. “No one will read what you write. No one will come to hear you teach.” Doubts and fears, all of which are lies.
As I sat in silence this week, doubting myself, a friend from my very first duty station called me out of the blue. We chatted about life and kids. We discussed how each adult child was doing and what we were doing now that our homes were empty. She caught me totally off guard when she said, “Where is your book?” I stuttered about not finishing it. She did not let me off the hook. Finally, I spilled out my fears over the phone. She stopped me and spoke true love into me.
“Send it to me, I will read it.” These words showed me the lies I was believing. At least one person will read it. One means someone will read it. Light comes through the darkness.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
(Galatians 6:2 ESV)
She took my burdens of self-doubt and lifted me up. She spoke light into the dark area where I had been living. Later that day, as I sat reflecting on what she had said, I received a text. It was a picture from another friend. In the picture, she had journaled during two different studies (six years apart), that I was her “Barnabas.” She called me “her teacher.” She texted into that dark place and God’s light shone through. This text brought tears to my eyes. I told her that and she reminded me that I was listening to lies. She had already come to hear me teach.
True Love Bears Burdens
Bearing the burdens of a friend takes many forms.
It can be physical burdens. Taking a toddler out to play so that a young mom can rest is one way. Holding onto a friend as they sob over losing a loved one. Rejoicing with a friend over a good report at the doctor. There are so many ways to bear the burdens of people around you.
These two dear friends do not know each other. I have not seen them in years, yet their true love broke me into pieces. Pieces of gratefulness, thankfulness, joy, and love. God used them to show me John 13:34 in living color. Two friends loving me as Christ loves them.
Love… True love bears burdens and listens to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and steps out to help others. Years or miles can pass between friends but the love of God binds us together.
“And this commandment we have from him (Jesus) whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
(1 John 4:21 ESV)
Jesus calls us to love each other and to help each other. Helping can be physical, like providing meals or shoulders to cry on. It can be helping others by praying for them or calling to check in with them. Sending texts or messaging people can bring joy and show them love.
Reflect: What is true love? How can you show love to someone this week? Look at your calendar and schedule a time to follow through on this.
Respond: Who is God bringing to mind? What do you need to do?
Lord, guide me. Teach me to be bold and to love as you love me. Teach me to help others around me. Amen.