Lately it’s been the theme of sermons I’ve heard, songs I’ve listened to, conversations I’ve had, movies I’ve watched, and things I’ve experienced. It’s not anything new or whatever, but just something usually so rare in my day-to-day that it fascinates me, and for some reason has it direct access to my usually well-guarded emotions (I was “under attack” at the movie, lol). Humble love is when someone expresses their care for another person without any attempt to hold back how much they value that person. It’s the kind of love that leaves that person so vulnerable for a rejection that you would get depressed just witnessing them get shut down.
God’s been indisputably the most unashamed lover of all time (and “before and after” time). I mean really…. who leaves the comfort of the place everyone would rather be, to be with people? PEOPLE. PEOPLE SUCK SO MUCH. Not only did he come down to the “worst place under heaven”, but then he put on this achy, disease-prone, smelly earth suit we call a body. He wrapped himself in veins and connected them to a brain so he could intimately feel every ounce of the pain he would endure. Then in ways no one can understand, he took on the sin of every member of the elect, experiencing within himself the disgustingness of every single perversion of His creation, in order to punish Himself as if he had committed the crimes. And all this for beings that would make Him look like a fool for ever loving them in the first place for several thousand years. Even the angels look at us and then look at God like he married Ugly Betty (1 Pe 1:12-13).
The couple speaking in the Song of Solomon showed this kind of love too. The first time I read it I didn’t care too much about the so-called explicitness of their allusions. I was thrown by how they were able to say how they really felt about the other person, without holding back out of fear or pride. I think it stuck out to me because at the time I was creating a lifestyle around the idea of loving as shallowly as possible, so rejection will just roll off of me. That’s what I was learning from TV, music, peers, and that’s what they are still teaching to billions of impressionable minds as you read these words. “F the world and don’t care about anyone or anything —- then you can’t get hurt, and no one will ever catch you not looking ‘cool’ “.
Obviously on a romantic tip humble love is only safe within marriage. The same way a fire in a house is only a good thing in the fireplace. In the right context, everyone’s happy. Anywhere else… you get the idea. Friends show it by doing things for each other expecting nothing in return. Or even quietly by not eating certain foods or listening to certain music when your friend is on a diet or has a particular personal problem with a certain artist or genre. Or even avoiding certain words that you and your friend have conflicting opinions about. That’s humble love too. Valuing others over your own preferences and comfort. Not life or death issues, just regular, everyday differences.
Nowadays I find myself wanting to know the God who loves humbly, and I’m only able to grow closer to Him by walking in His footsteps. I used to think other people were pointless, I mean not worth a thing beyond what they could do for me. Now, God’s got me actually valuing not just people in general, but solid friendships. That’s absurd to one side of me. Valuing people just for who they are? But it’s true! I actually want to value people! To me that’s crazy, but that’s growing in my heart.
But here is the conflict…
At the same time the old me is fighting to preserve itself. All this giving of one’s self for others’ benefit is like suicide. Or like self-sacrifice. In this world, it’s like skipping through the Maryland Ave NE projects with your arms wide open wearing a vest made of stuffed animals….you’re wearing your memorial. What usually ends up dying so humble love can thrive is pride, selfish ambition, conceit…things strongly attached to the slowly-fading old me. Now, when I find myself fighting to maintain and hold onto the very things the old me despised and feared (authentic relationships with people), it actually takes a lot out of me. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I walked into the last fight with a prayer before me and Jehovah-Nissi behind and above me, and if I’m diagnosing this right, I’m STILL trying to get my energy back. I’ve had some draining experiences before, but I don’t know what this is about. Didn’t think it was that serious. But I digress…it may be withdrawal from this work-a-holic detox I’m going through too.
I really am tired though, so…… yeah.
Love is not proud (1 Cor 13:4). Live in Love yall (1 John 4:16)
PS – Have you ever encountered, or desired, humble love? Ever shown it? What has it cost you?