I love you, but…
For all of us, there are strings attached to what we do and say, and maybe none of this is more prominent than in how we demonstrate love for others. Even if it isn’t at the forefront of our minds, we generally expect something out of the ones we love, whether a grand gesture in return for our own or even something as minor as simple civility.
After all, this is what we deserve.
Perhaps this is why we feel drawn to stories of love without strings attached, because they provide a love is that is almost scandalous, that’s inconceivable, that makes us stand up and take notice.
Naruto and Sasuke’s friendship may be the most outstanding example of this kind of love in all anime and manga. Naruto has little reason to keep loving Sasuke, yet he continues to do so, despite all circumstances. Sasuke continues to demonstrate that he is beyond repair and yet, Naruto is committed to loving his friend and redeeming him.
Hmm…does that kind of love sound familiar? (Hint hint…it’s Easter!)
In this day and age, I think a lot of us are unwilling to think of ourselves as “sinners.” That term carries a backward and judgmental connotation. We don’t want that label. Even if our flaws hurt ourselves and pain others, it makes no difference. What does it matter if we’re broken?
What does it matter if we, like Sasuke, are beyond repair?
But perhaps, also like Sasuke, we’re so selfish that we are unaware of or unwilling to see how our actions and thoughts effect others. We are like Sasuke, in a sense, putting our selfish motives above love for others time after time after time.
And as with Sasuke, we, too, have one who is always trying to love us, to offer that “repair” even when we’re damaged beyond help.
This message is at the center of the gospel – it tells of a love that transcends all barriers put up by the world or by ourselves. In one story, a woman comes to a well to gather water. What we notice is that she comes out in the heat of the day. Why would she come then? Well, perhaps it’s because of her many previous marriages, which marked her as an outcast of society. She may have been tired of the stares and whispers behind her back, and the rude words to her face. She was broken.
But after her encounter with Jesus, this previously shamed woman runs to the town and screams out the news about this man she had encountered. She’d forgotten her shame because Jesus knew exactly who she was and loved her anyway.
Do you feel broken? Helpless? Ashamed? Is there a particular moment or choice you made that haunts you or are you living a life that you don’t want to live? In Jesus, there’s someone who loves you despite knowing all this about you. The evidence for His love is the cross.
If you’d like to chat about faith, please shoot me an email. We can talk as little or as much as you’d like about anything you want to talk about.
And to everyone, I hope you have a Happy Resurrection Sunday!