Friday, December 6, 2013

Love Deeply, Eh, What's the Difference.

My Grandma, Sweet Georgia Brown, was a special lady.  There was something about being in her presence that you knew you were loved. Anyone and everyone were welcomed at her table for dinner (Note: Dinner is at noon and supper is at 5pm where I grew up. I don’t know when you people started having dinner in the evening!)  She cooked liked it too.  Sometimes there were only three of us but enough food on the table for thirty, every day.  I have heard many stories from people in Maysville where I grew up that at some point in their life they shared a memorable meal around my Grandma Georgia’s dinner table.  You knew you were loved.

(Here's a picture of my Grandma from a 60's or 70's fishing trip.  
She's the one raising the roof in the back ground!)

For a grandkid like me it could have been that if I stayed home sick from school I was guaranteed to have a pot of hot potato soup when I woke up.  She believed potato soup and cornbread cured all things.  Sometimes I knew she’d been there and sometimes I didn’t.  I would wake up and there it would be! 

Maybe I felt loved because to even mention a new breakfast cereal meant it would show up in her cabinet ready for an after school snack.  Of course if my sister Rana and I both had cereal of different brands there was a strong chance multiple boxes would get combined before we could get one finished off.  “Huh, when did Cap’n Crunch start adding raisins?” or “I don’t remember mini chocolate chip cookies making this magically delicious!”

Could it be that I felt loved by the way she made it seem okay that she just beat me for the eighth time in a row at Skip-Bo?  “Grandma, I really want to be ticked off right now, but you keep saying, “I’m sorry Sweetie look at that.” every time you lay down that last card.” 

If I needed the shop to cut lumber for a harebrained prototype coon trap or high school homecoming float then she was all in, right across from me catching the wood at the other end of the saw. 

For me and everyone who was in contact with her you knew you were loved.  But it wasn’t a fringe love, it was a deep love.

Recently I received a scripture in my inbox at work, like I do every day, but this one really made me think.

Love each other deeply with all your heart.
- 1 Peter 1:22b, NLT

“Deeply” is the first thing that caught my attention and instantly convicted me.  I thought, “I don’t.”  That’s me being honest. I have made a complete 180 in the past 10 year but that deeply part got to me.  I used to not like people from the get go, then if they “earned it” I would consider them.  That way you never get hurt or caught off guard right?  Now I can say I have let my guard down and have an honest love for people.  BUT Peter says love each other DEEPLY.  That’s different than just love.

As I often do when I’m convicted, I digress back and let my old legalistic mind see if it can find a loophole!  That way I won’t have to change or think about what the Holy Spirit is pressing on me. So I thought, let’s see what other translations say.  That NLT bunch can get a bit liberal at times. 

NIV – deeply (Jerks have been talking to the NLT people)
CEV – with all your heart (Clichéd)
The Message – love as if your lives depended on it (Huh, come on, that’s not even a real Bible is it?)
KJV – fervently (Ha! There we go!  Ol’ King James coming through!  A “real” translation.  What does fervently mean?) Fervently – with intensity, burning, impassioned.  (Ugh.  Step back into the boat.)

My friend and I kicked this around over a pot of coffee a couple mornings ago.  That’s how all problems and important discussion should happen you know, over coffee.  In our convo he made me think if there are those outside my “circle” that I deeply love?  My circle being, family, close friends who are like family, Lifegroup, etc.

I answered “yes” and those I revealed to him kinda surprised he and I both. He asked, “Why them?  Why do you love them DEEPLY?”  I thought for a minute and realized it was because they came to me completely unguarded, vulnerable and real.  I found an instant deep love for them because I knew them to their core and they trusted me.

So is that key?  Simply to REALLY know people?  I don’t think that is the universal world encompassing cure deep love deficiency but I think it’s a factor and apparently a significant one for me. 

If we really know people are we more apt to love deeply? 
Are we making ourselves available enough? 
Can we really know people enough to deeply love them through text, and Facebook and Twitter? 

I don’t have the answer. 
I don’t have the combination.
I don’t have the formula for what it takes to love each other deeply.

I see for me that I have a lot of work to do in this area.  I fall way short!

And I hope that today you will examine and ask yourself that question too. 
Do I love people with all my heart?
Do I love people as if my life or theirs depended on it?
Do I love people with intensity?
Do I love people fervently?
Do I love people deeply?

What’s holding you back?