Summary: Session 3 - learning to love by giving your attention, affection and action.
LEARNING TO LOVE
Retreat Session 3
One night a wife found her husband standing over their newborn baby’s crib. Silently she watched him. As he stood looking down at the sleeping infant, she saw on his face a mixture of emotions: disbelief, doubt, delight, amazement, skepticism. He would stand back, shake his head and say, "Amazing" while smiling from ear to ear. Touched by his unusual display of emotion and the deep feelings it aroused, her eyes glistened as she slipped her arms around him. "A penny for your thoughts," she whispered in his ear. "Isn’t it amazing!" he replied. "When you take the time and really look close, how can anyone make a crib like that for only $45.99!"
Often men are clueless when it comes to showing emotions. This can be especially true when it comes to expressing love. How do you learn how to love? You look at how Jesus loved.
Tony Campolo in his book The Kingdom of God is a Party told how, upon arrival in Honolulu, he made his way unwittingly to a seedy part of town for a snack at 3:30 in the morning only to be surrounded by eight or nine prostitutes who had just gotten off work for the night. He overheard one talking to her friend, “Tomorrow is my birthday.” Her friend rebutted, “So what do you want from me? You want me to get you a cake and sing, ’Happy Birthday?’“ The birthday girl protested, “Why do you have to be so mean? I was just telling you, that’s all. Why do you have to put me down? Why should you give me a birthday party now when I’ve never had a birthday party in my whole life?”
When the prostitutes left, Campolo’s heart was touched. He decided to throw her a surprise party. He decorated the place the next night with the help of the bartender, who happily chipped in the cake. The next day, the stunned girl was deeply touched when the whole bar sang a birthday song to her. Campolo offered to say a prayer for the woman before the stunned crowd, and after the prayer, the bartender remarked, “Hey! You never told me you were a preacher. What kind of church do you belong to?” Campolo replied, “I belong to a church that throws birthday parties for prostitutes at 3:30 in the morning.” The bartender then sneered, “No you don’t. There’s no church in the world like that. If there was, I would join it.”
Jesus was a friend of sinners. He ate and drank with people that the religious elite of His day would not. He loved the unlovely. Learning to love means that we love like Jesus. To do this I want us to look at the story of the good Samaritan:
Luke 10:25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" 27 He answered: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, `Love your neighbor as yourself.’" 28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor ?" 30 In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. `Look after him,’ he said, `and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" 37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
When Jesus asks the expert to sum up the whole of the Old Testament law he does so by saying that the heart of the law is simply “loving God and loving others”. However, the real issue here is not theology but practice. Jesus did not respond to him by saying “KNOW this and you will live” but “ DO this and you will live”. We only really know the parts of the bible we actually put into practice. It is easy to say but hard to do.