“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If somebody has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion – how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3: 16-19 NLT
I went to a contemplative meeting last night led by an amazing couple who are both rooted in love and live this verse out in their lives..we meditated on it for half an hour in silence.
Henri Nouwen once wrote that without silence, words loose their meaning. As I sat and listened to the silence, I was gradually aware of the silences of love. The silence from Jesus as he was accused, tortured and put to death. The silence that comes from being still before the Lord and where in amongst the busyness the silent river of life flows freely. The silence that exists between two lovers where words are no longer necessary; the silence of expectation as we wait upon Him, knowing that He is already here. We can love and be loved with silence.
But silence can also be a dangerous place, a place where the distortions of life are stripped away and we are left with an honest reflection of ourselves. Silence exposes. Silence allows us to avoid, mask, condemn. Silence allows us to quietly disengage from a life of obedient love.
As I sat in silence my life became exposed before my eyes. John writes ‘ought’ not ‘must’ give up our lives. The way I live my life is eternally bonded to truly knowing that love. If I truly knew what real love was, then in my response would flow the necessary compassion to demonstrate active love. Fear would be conquered and cost diminish, my own selfishness overcome.
So where do I go to find such love?