About a month ago, we started a new sermon series at church. It reveals our new mission statement: Love God. Love others. In the weeks that follow, we’re going through what that means…the why and how of loving God and loving others. (If you want to jump in and follow along, sermons are available online.)
I actually missed the first week, but I asked my husband to pick up a wristband for you, so I could start wearing it right away as a reminder. When I got home, I put it on. As people in our church started using #tcclovegodloveothers to express encouragement, moments, and stories, I faced one reminder after another. But my wristband continued to be my favorite. Why? See if you can figure it out:
I noticed the blemish one of the first days I wore it. A bit of beige ink had dropped onto the green. I tried to get it off. It’s permanent. Of the hundreds of wristbands, I had to get the imperfect one? I guess that’s what I get for not showing up at church.
Then I realized it’s the best wristband for me, because it’s a great reminder. I need to love God despite my blemishes, and I need to love others despite their blemishes and mine.
The day I noticed the blemish, I received a passive-aggressive text, someone huffed away when I told them I wouldn’t do something (without giving me a chance to explain why), someone blamed me for something I had no influence upon, I got an encouraging message from a friend in ministry I hadn’t heard from in long time, and a stranger and I had a wonderful conversation at Walmart. I looked at my wristband and was reminded: Love God. Give it all to Him. Thank Him. Ask Him. Receive from Him. Honor Him. I looked again and was reminded: Love others. Not in spite of their messiness but because of it. What I think is their messiness might be mine anyway. Either way, God wants to work in and through me. He wants me to honor Him through every relationship I have, whether it’s long term, short term, or momentary. I can’t figure it out on my own. It’s only when I do it His way that I live and love well. Jesus made it pretty clear: Love God. Love others. He gave me the perfect reminder in Himself. And now I have an imperfect reminder to encourage me every imperfect step along the way.
“Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-39)