I have a game I like to play when shopping where I try to find the most absurd item or advertisement I can. It is great fun in second hand stores. It is also often a disturbingly interesting exercise in Christian bookstores! This week however, I ended up spotting something so ridiculous in the window of a sunglasses store that I didn’t even have to go inside to know that I’d spotted my winner.
“Give Sunglasses, get love”....It seems so blunt and so very ridiculous to think that giving someone sunglasses is the key you need to being loved. I have to wonder though, if this is just an excessively blunt manifestation of an underlying logic of love being earnable we are sometimes seem too quick to swallow. When it comes to romantic relationships, ever heard something like to the effect of person A deserves better than person B? As I’m sure many other Christian singles can attest, being told you need to achieve contentment or some other Godly character trait before you get romantic love is so common it has become a bad cliche. Then there is all the people (probably most of us at some point) who slip for a time or permanently into thinking they need to clean up their act or be doing more for God to love them. In so many ways we somehow end up missing the truth by assuming that love is something you can deserve for your awesomeness (or not deserve for your lack thereof)
Perhaps being Valentine’s day this week it would be a good chance to remember that real love is not something we get because we are awesome or do the right things or have it all together or give the right sunglasses. If what you are getting is just a response to something you do or give, at best you are getting polite acknowledgement. Love is so much bigger than that. We are loved by God because he is gracious and by people when they imitate a bit of God’s grace (whether they know it or not) in extending love to imperfect us. That is so much more precious than just earning what we deserve. And as we remember the grace behind the love given to us, may we be mindful to extend that grace to others regardless of how deserving or otherwise they seem.