Destiny In Bloom

What’s love got to do with it? (Got to do with it?)

What’s love got to do with it? (Got to do with it?)

posted on October 10th, 2011 / by Kelli Jones / 13 Comments

There are days when I feel like a referee in my house. I have five kids, and when everyone is in a bad mood on the same day, let’s just say the sibling quarrels can feel like a UFC tournament.

The fun thing about parenting, though, is that as I’m correcting my children and training them how to love each other like God loves us, I often find myself being taught a lesson in the midst. This was the case just the other day.

It was one of those days when my two year old girls were both in quite the sour moods. They are typical two year olds who both want whatever the other one seems to have at the moment, and thus, a squabble broke out over a toy. I happened to be wearing a black and white polyester striped shirt that day, so I quickly grabbed my whistle from around my neck and blew it.

Ok, well, really I don’t own any of that attire. I was just wearing my “Mom clothes” and stepped in and ended the quarrel.

I went through our usual talk about sharing, how God wants us to love each other and how slapping one another upside the head is not expressing love. I ended the “discussion” by having them each tell the other sister she was sorry. I told the sister being apologized to that she should now respond with “I forgive you.”

Let me pause for just a second to add that we adopted one of our two year old daughters from China about four months ago. She is still learning to speak English, but her receptive language is excellent. So when I told her to say “I forgive you” to her sister, she did not repeat what I said, but she did something that demonstrated to me the root of the word forgiveness in such a powerful way: this little two year old girl, who before four months ago had never even been told the words “I love you” or had any concept of what it means to forgive, reached out and gave her sister a big fat kiss. Even in her little heart, she knew that forgiveness is just an expression of love. Suddenly God began speaking to me, reminding me about love and forgiveness.

Immediately a flood of questions entered my head. How can we say we love if we do not forgive? How can we say we can’t forgive an offense, and yet claim to love like Jesus did? How can we claim we have forgiven someone and yet not make allowances for that person’s imperfections in our lives? How can love ever be expressed by making a choice to do what is best for “me” in a situation over someone else’s needs?

I am not proposing that God would ever ask you to subject yourself to abuse, and if that is your situation please know this article is not referring to those type of offenses. What I am referring to is the belief in many people’s minds that love and forgiveness are two separate things. They operate as if there is no connection, correlation or intersection of the two.

I was reminded by my daughter in such a sweet and visible way that love and forgiveness have everything to do with each other. The impact of a two year old who has only recently begun to experience what it means to be loved having an understanding of how to tangibly express forgiveness was so powerful.

I could not help but think about how many of us as Christ followers claim to love one another, yet our actions speak differently because someone has offended us. Would there really be any quarrels within “the church” if we truly “got it?”

Quickly, my thoughts turned from questions to a picture of Jesus on the cross. The forgiveness of our sins Jesus paid for on the cross is the greatest expression of His love for us there will ever be. If we claim to follow Him, yet cannot forgive someone, how can we say we love? What if we were to take the perspective of Jesus on the cross that we see in Luke 23:34 when He said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Many times in life when someone commits an offense against us it is because they don’t know what they are doing. I do not mean they are not aware of their actions, but they might be at a different place in their own understanding of love. Essentially, when Jesus was on the cross He was asking the Father to make an allowance for our imperfections and ignorance, and He modeled for us what we need to do with others.

I don’t pretend to think I am sharing with you some mind-blowing revelation you’ve never heard before, and this article is not about condemnation or guilt. It’s about being called to a higher way of living, the way He intended us to live. I believe the Holy Spirit is coming to remind us all of this basic truth we may claim to believe but have a hard time living out.

I’m not going to give you a five point process on how to love and forgive, because it’s the work of the Holy Spirit within us that gives us the ability to do just that. I’m just asking if you’ll join me in allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any areas in your heart where there is unforgiveness. Will you take it a step further and allow Him to manifest Himself in you and give you the ability to express His love in the form of forgiveness?

So what’s love got to do with it? Everything.

Holy Spirit, I thank you for this visible reminder of what it means to forgive. Reveal to us any areas in our heart where we have unforgiveness, and give us the ability to express love in its highest form and to forgive. Thank you that you are made perfect in our weakness and that you give us the ability to love like you do. Lord, let this be a starting point for any rearranging you want to do in our hearts. You have permission to change what needs changing. We love you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Kelli Jones

Kelli Jones

13 Responses to “What’s love got to do with it? (Got to do with it?)”

  1. Kelli, I love this article! What a great reminder that it is about being called to a higher level of living. It's so easy to compartmentalize love and forgiveness. But they actually don't function to their fullest potential without both being fully present. I love the way God intertwined everything to help bring out the best in every person, every heart, every mind. It truly does call me to a higher level of living. I've got lots of work to do to get there, but appreciating the journey(thanks to your article) feels better than looking toward the destination only. Happy living and learning to you and yours!
    ~Summer

  2. What I truly love about what you wrote in this article is that you live it out in front of me every day. Ask any one of your friends and they will say that they see this fruit from you: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control! I Love the way you Love and how it reflects the Love of Christ!

  3. A much needed reminder for forgiveness, every day. Love and forgiveness are not exclusive, but require the other to fully function. If Jesus, the Son of God, can forgive us fully and completely, we should be able to do the same. Great post!

  4. This rocks the Casbah!

    Love; "It’s about being called to a higher way of living, the way He intended us to live."

    Kelli … this my new favorite of yours …. so YUMMY!

    Prayed the prayer … want no rock unturned in my heart by love!

    Love you beautiful beautiful friend!

    ~Ris

  5. This was suuch a timely reminder for me. Thanks for expressing it so well!

  6. Kelli,

    Seriously?! I love that HolySpirit had you write this just for me … in advance of me not knowing that I would NEED this today. I'm always thankful that God does something so personal for me and that others get to glean off it. ;) [said tongue-in-cheek, but with the full understanding and belief that, indeed, God knew I really would need this today.]

    I usually pick out the golden nugget that captured my heart from any particular blog, but I have to say that there was more than one this time around.

    "Immediately a flood of questions entered my head. How can we say we love if we do not forgive? How can we say we can’t forgive an offense, and yet claim to love like Jesus did? How can we claim we have forgiven someone and yet not make allowances for that person’s imperfections in our lives? How can love ever be expressed by making a choice to do what is best for “me” in a situation over someone else’s needs?"

    Dare I say that this entire paragraph was a wing-dizzer to my spirit? Just bam, Bam, BAM! One after another. Truth reminders. Perspective shifters. Heart aligners. Good stuff!

    And this…

    "What if we were to take the perspective of Jesus on the cross that we see in Luke 23:34 when He said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Many times in life when someone commits an offense against us it is because they don’t know what they are doing. I do not mean they are not aware of their actions, but they might be at a different place in their own understanding of love."

    Goodness. I don't know the exact day you wrote this prior to publication, but this paragraph is a confirmation of a word I received from a friend just this morning as it relates to a current 'situation'. My spirit sighed with thanks. I love how time is of no consequence to God. He writes [there and then] and deposits [here and now].

    "Essentially, when Jesus was on the cross He was asking the Father to make an allowance for our imperfections and ignorance, and He modeled for us what we need to do with others."

    [Father, I'm asking for this foundational Word to penetrate my heart deeply and guide me in my tomorrows.]

    "Will you take it a step further and allow Him to manifest Himself in you and give you the ability to express His love in the form of forgiveness?"

    ABSOLUTELY! Speaking it IN and OVER … IN and OVER!

    Much Love, Kelli! This was spoonful of HolySpirit medicine today that I prayed for earlier in the morning!

    Be blessed, friend!

  7. Love how our little children can be one of the biggest ways God reveals Himself to us…such small things that can bring such truth! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Well, this really hit me in the face today as I face a very difficult situation in my life. I am just getting comfortable about another situation in my life. And, then I read this:

    I’m not going to give you a five point process on how to love and forgive, because it’s the work of the Holy Spirit within us that gives us the ability to do just that. I’m just asking if you’ll join me in allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any areas in your heart where there is unforgiveness. Will you take it a step further and allow Him to manifest Himself in you and give you the ability to express His love in the form of forgiveness?

    continued

  9. I know, I am always looking for those 'five points' and the 'how to's' to help me get there. When you asked, "I’m just asking if you’ll join me in allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any areas in your heart where there is unforgiveness," my heart dropped to the floor. I felt in the moment that I read that the Holy Spirit put on my heart a couple of people and situations in which I needed be prepared to offer forgiveness. So, as I let the words of your writings really sink in, I think do I forgive in such a loving manner or do I forgive just because I am supposed to forgive?

    Wow, I am really going to have to take some time to allow the Holy Spirit to show me. I want to forgive and love like Jesus. I don't think I always show love in my forgiveness.

    Thank you so much for your post. And, Babs, I am going to have to borrow your "spoonful of Holy Spirit medicine" statement. Oh my gosh, that is such a truthful statment about this Word.

  10. Perfectly timed for an imperfect situation. Thank you.

  11. Excellent and well written article Kelli! Holy Spirit, help me live it out.

  12. Lili has a gift for making me emotional and cry! She is the sweetest little princess, bot of your girls are beautiful! Love this article and your message to love and forgive. love u!

  13. So good. I loved when you said that "Even in her little heart, she knew that forgiveness is just an expression of love." Beautiful!