Giving Others a New Beginning
“For the love of Christ constrains us…” (II Corinthians 5:14).
Give each person a blank sheet of paper and ask them to draw a vertical line down the center. On the left hand side of the page ask them to write down everything they did last week that might have caused God to love them less. On the right side of the paper ask them to list everything they could do in the coming week that would cause God to love them more. After a moment of silence, share with them that the only correct response is to write nothing.
- Did you start to write something on the paper? If so, what does that tell you about your concept of God’s love?
- We were probably inclined to list our sins and failures on the left side of the page and some “good deeds” on the right side. Although these items do not affect the flow of God’s love toward us, how do they legitimately affect our relationship to Him?
- To be “constrained” is to be “held”; to be “secure”; to be empowered and motivated.
- In John 15:12 Jesus taught us to, “Love each other as I have loved you.” If nothing can separate us from God’s love, should not our love for others be as constant and durable? Do we often put our spouse, children, family members and friends on a performance basis to where they have to “earn our love?”
- Inevitably, we do offend one another by our behavior or neglect. Although these should not affect our love for one another, they obviously do hurt the relationship. How should these conflicts and misunderstandings be handled? How will the “constraining” presence of unmerited, unconditional love positively influence these times of conflict resolution?
EXPERIENCING TRUTH IN DEEPENED INTIMACY WITH OTHERS
As you relate to those you love, reassure them of your committed love. You might have these words to say to loved ones:
“I want to learn how to better love you as God loves me.”
“I always want you to know and feel my love for you. Even when we may disagree or experience conflict, I want you to be secure in my love.”
Then ask: “Do I ever do things that make you question my love for you? Please share them with me, so I can eliminate them.”
At least once a week, for the next several months, take turns holding your spouse or child saying, “I love you; I’ll always love you. There’s nothing you can do to make me love you more; there’s nothing you can do to make me love you less. I’ll always be here for you.”
EXPERIENCING TRUTH IN DEEPENED INTIMACY WITH GOD
- When you realize that there is nothing you can do or not do that will cause God to love you less, how does that make you feel?
- Pause and express your GRATEFULNESS to this One who “holds” you in His love.