“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13
It’s Mother’s Day today, and as I reflect on what motherhood means, one word that immediately comes to mind is sacrifice. As mothers, many times we sacrifice hobbies, free time, privacy, sleep, time, money, resources, even access to our own bodies, for our children. It’s a giving relationship, not a taking one. We often do reap kindness, friendship, and love from our children if that is what we sow into their lives – but not necessarily. We love our children even if they do not love us back. I think most of us would desire that our love for our children be unconditional. We are human and fallen and we fail our children, but I think we can get a glimpse of how God loves US as His children. Unconditionally. With a fierce, protective, sheltering love.
Several thoughts have been in my mind this week around this topic. One is that I think I might understand what it means to lay down my life for someone. Yes, there is my physical life, and I believe I would die trying to protect or save my children. But our lives don’t JUST consist of our physical bodies. What about our emotional life? We lay down our emotional life for our friends (including our children), when we sacrifice what we want for what they want/need. “As mothers, many times we sacrifice hobbies, free time, privacy, sleep, time, money, resources, even access to our own bodies, for our children.” Isn’t this laying down our lives for our children, in a very active way? It’s not just a one time laying down of physical life, but a repeated and deliberate dynamic choice we make many times daily, to lay aside ME for SOMEONE ELSE. Doesn’t that sound like the very definition of the greatest love?
Laying down our lives for others is how we obey the second commandment – to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our spouse and child(ren) are our closest neighbors.
The next thought is about this – “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37. We obey the first and greatest commandment by loving God EVEN MORE than our children. Does that mean we neglect our children, or love them less? Of course not. But our love for God must be so all-consuming that we feel it deep in the heart of our very being. The fierce, protective, consuming, sacrificial love you feel for your child? Yeah, that. THAT’S the love you should have EVEN MORE for God. If you don’t have that love, that passion for God – He calls it “losing your first love”, or even worse, “being lukewarm”. Pursue God relentlessly. With all your heart. This is what He expects – demands – from His followers. Repent, and cry out to God for Him to give you that love for Him. Never stop asking, never stop pursuing. God is worth it. Even more than your child.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39