“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15)
Recently I have been suffering from some sadness and internal turmoil. It is over a relationship with someone I care deeply about. I love this person and they say they love me. The problem is I do not feel loved by this individual. I do not experience a loving relationship with them. It feels theoretical not real.
This person has been involved in my life for a long time. So yes there are good things about them and happy memories. They have done kind things for me. So I do not want to say that the relationship is totally worthless. There is a connection and a commitment. But there is something lacking. And I feel more and more sadness when I think of the things that are lacking. Instead of growing closer as time goes, we are becoming emotional distant.
This person will on occasion say that they love me but it is not expressed in tangible ways. They do not make efforts to spend time with me, although they expect that I am there for them when they need it. They are not generous with me although they are generous with others in their life. They do not say words of encouragement. They are not affectionate. I have been in great need of help over the last few years. At no time did this person offer help, even in their areas of expertise. In other words, with me, they exhibit no signs of the five love languages; No acts of service, gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, or physical touch. I am not feeling loved and it is painful.
Today as I was reading my Bible, I read John 14. In this passage Jesus expresses His commitment to His disciples. He expresses his love. He is preparing a place-act of service. He promises to keep in communication with through the Spirit-quality time. The Spirit will live with us and comfort us-physical touch. He promises to answer our prayers, give us a new home, and give us peace-gifts. He shares truth and promises a bright future. He says that His disciples will do great things in His name-words of affirmation. This passage affirms that Jesus loves his followers and he expresses it in concrete ways.
I love this and was encouraged, but then it hit me. Do I love Jesus? Or am I like the person in my life who claims to love me but shows no signs of it. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”. In chapter 21 of John, Jesus has a talk with Peter. Do you really love me? Then make it tangible. Take care of my sheep. Gal 5:6 tells us that “what counts is faith expressing itself in love”. Expressing is an active verb. To express requires action.
My heart is broken because someone I care about does not express love to me. It is not tangible. Am I breaking Jesus heart because my love for Him is only theoretical? I am in a relationship with Him because we are part of the same family, I have been engrafted in. But do I truly love him? Do I demonstrate it? Can others see it? I do not want people to just assume I must love him because we are in relationship. I want it to be clearly evident because my love is demonstrative. He deserves my love and I want to express it, therefore I will apply myself to keeping his Word.
Dear Jesus, I am sad and pray that you will restore the broken relationship that is causing this grief and pain in my life. You are the healer of broken relationships. You are the Balm of Gilead, the Great Physician, and the one who restores health. I pray that today you start to make the changes to bring about this healing.
Even though it is painful, I want to thank you for this trial. You are developing perseverance in my life. You are also drawing me close to your heart. You are allowing me to know your thoughts and feelings. You are allowing me to experience the sadness that you must feel when those that you love do not love you back. I know you understand because you have gone through the same thing.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:15-16). I came come with boldness and find mercy and grace today!
I thank you for also teaching me how I can best enjoy a love relationship with you. It requires me to express my love in tangible and evident ways. As we both continue to show expressions of our commitment to one another, we will be bonded together in our love and unity. Thank you Jesus.