My Bloody Valentine.

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There were three words that changed my life forever.

Three words that scared me.

Three words that made me cry.

Three words that brought me joy.

Three words that brought me peace.

Three words that brought me truth.

Three words that brought me life.

On the back of my car there is a very faded cracking bumper sticker with a simple message on it. The bumper sticker is only one word. Only there is a great story behind this specific word. This word tells a story that many will never know. One that could touch any heart. This word inspired a movement. The word of course is

LoVE.

A man I never met by the name of Matt shared a common interest with me. He had a love for music. But more specifically the music of the Dave Matthews Band. Matt would attend many shows and always would carry with him a sign. And on this sign was no song request, no “I LOVE YOU DAVE!!!”, no “CARTER IS GOD”, just one word in a neat font…LoVE.

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In 2009 Matthew lost his life but it didn’t go unnoticed. In fact nearly the entire Dave Matthews fan base came together to honor his life and his simple message of LoVE.

People began making their own LoVE signs and bringing them to shows. Shirts, flags, buttons, all the best forms of flair began showing up at EVERY. SINGLE. SHOW. The band even got involved in the movement wearing LoVE pins on their clothing and waving the flag before shows. One show was dedicated in his memory thanking him for his willingness to show the world the best message we can…which is Love.

On the website in his memory it is written that “Matt truly loved…and was loved by all.”

You see, Matt got it. Matt knew the message.

Now I don’t know Matt’s faith or if he even had any but he inspired a movement that makes me say above and beyond “YES.”

Something so…..SO simple brought people together. Created friendships, created warmness, created LoVE.

“Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”-1 John 4:16

Now I know this probably isn’t as broad as I wish it to be but I like to think it is. For the verse that precedes it is “God is love.”

I mean that’s the message isn’t it?

“For God SO LOVED the world that he sent his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should have everlasting life.”(John 3:16)

That’s our go to Bible verse is it not?

And what did that Son come here to spread? Well when they asked him what his most important teaching was…what was THE MOST important commandment?

Love.

Love God, and love your neighbors is what He said.

The law that he spoke of….was love.

People pick and choose all these crazy things out of the Old Testament to prove how absurd God is but here’s what he said was what he wanted: To love him and to love your neighbors.

And when Jesus was asked well who is my neighbor? He told a story that included everyone, even our enemies. The love he wants is so great that there can be no room for anything that goes against love. And we get all caught up in these rules that create walls and shut people out and make them feel unworthy and yes we get them from the Bible and yes we are trying to live things out but God’s love isn’t exclusive, it’s inclusive.

Because when asked:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

(Matthew 22:36-40)

That is the only rule. Follow that and you follow them all. (And people call that absurd?)

Perhaps my favorite chunk of scripture comes from 1 John and it is one of the central roundups of the entire Bible. Honestly if you could read one chapter of the Bible I’d offer this:

1 John 4

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

Think of all the ways our culture expresses love.

Chocolate. Chick Flicks. Flowers. Pets. Sex. Hallmark Cards.

Not saying that’s bad but when we name “affections” this is typically how we show it. And it is always for someone we deeply care about and they usually care about us.

We fantasize over these perfect partners for our relations and we exclude many who don’t own up to the image we just so desperately need. In fact we often look for the bad things. “Yeah but she has this weird bump on her toe.” “Yeah, but did you see his teeth?”

It’s like we want someone who is perfect to our image of perfection and anything shy of that we find the problems.

We entertain people for a while with presents and the fun ideas of what the movie tells us is reality. Boys and Girls all watch films that give false expectations of what we need. Guys watch porn, Girls watch chick flicks. Both are feeding these false images of what we should want and need from the other sex. We get so caught up in them that many struggle in relationships because of how skewed their expectations are.

There must be a better love out there.

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

Or another verse that sums it up in fewer words:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Sin was never part of the plan. Sin separated us from perfection. Sin separated us from the perfect image of what God wanted us to be. And he still loved us. In fact he loved us so much that while we were still imperfect, while we were still messes, while we were still sinners….Christ died for us.

In John, Jesus almost foreshadows us with what he believes is the greatest expression of love.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”-John 15:13

I also think he is giving us a nudge with his shoulder here.

You don’t have to die to lay down your life for your friends.

We are called to be servants of love. Serving others in love.

Because there is no greater love than sacrificing your life, your desires, your ways, your needs, for another.

Love is not just a feeling it is a commitment.

Jesus did this and beyond for you. He came down and lived a perfect life for you. He suffered every temptation and defeated all of them for you. He went through death so that you wouldn’t have to.

He lived a perfect life so that you could be perfection in him.

“I didn’t come for the righteous but the sinners.”

There are two camps of people that are in some way open to the idea of God.

There are the “I’m a good person, not a sinner/ yeah he’s cool and all but I bet I’m better than him at accounting.” And then there is the more popular stance of “God could never love someone like me, not with all the stuff that I’ve done.”

Most fall into the latter….which is comforting in an odd way. Because in that, there is this first slight glimpse at the first step to wisdom. Fear. In ways it is just extreme denial but the fact that they feel unworthy means they are on a good track. Because if you feel worthy then you don’t really get it yet.

Christ died for the unworthy….that’s why they call it grace.

God does love you. He loves all of us more than we ever deserve.

And we repay that unearned, undeserved love by going to church one day a week, reading our bibles, saying the right prayers, constantly asking him for more.

We say “hey thanks for dying for me and all but I still like getting drunk, or I’ll just stop doing that later.” I appreciate the gesture, I’m just not ready to really take it quite just yet, Can I still get it maybe after college?”

I want you to think of your best friend.

Someone who is always there for you. Someone you have been through a lot with.

Now I want you to imagine them taking a bullet for you. They gave up their life so that you could live.

Seriously think about this. (Sorry to be a bummer, but actually put thought into that.)

Not ONE DAY of your life would go by where you didn’t remember that. You would spend EVERY DAY of your life making the most of it. Because you wouldn’t dare waste the sacrifice that your friend made for you.

He died so that you wouldn’t have to.

He gave you life.

You know you would live that to the fullest of your capability.

THAT HAPPENED FOR YOU!!!

IT HAPPENED!!!

And we are these “Lukewarm” Christians using God’s forgiveness to keep living our way. Many of us haven’t changed a thing.

Someone died for you. And they were more than your best friend. They were your creator. And they didn’t do it because you loved them. They did it…

because they loved you.

And the one thing He asks for in return is to return the love and to share the love.

Return the love, and share the love.

And this is love:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthains 13:4-8)

LOVE NEVER FAILS!!! CHEER AT THAT!

LOVE WINS ALL THE TIME!

Where there is love there is God.

John 13:34

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Love how Jesus loved. Offer everything. It is not self seeking. Pay back to your best ability what was given….because WHY WOULDN’T YOU.

Don’t just believe in Jesus, LOVE HIM! Let go of yourself and let God take control. Because he will take you places that will fill your heart with abundance. Times will be hard, the world will still bring pain, but hope and joy will ALWAYS follow. Because he loves us.

Let us focus on loving others, for how you love others is how you love God.

Jesus is better than any romance movie. Better than any heart filled with chocolate. Better than any fine dinner. Better than any bouquet of flowers.

Better than.

God.

Is.

Love.

I want to give him everything. Because He gave me everything and I did nothing. I cursed him and hated others. I went against him and he loved me anyways. I want to give him everything because he deserves everything I have to offer. Because his love changed my entire life. Because in my hatred, God spoke.

There were three words that changed my life forever.

Three words that scared me.

Three words that made me cry.

Three words that brought me joy.

Three words that brought me peace.

Three words that brought me truth.

Three words that brought me life.

Because on that night, I saw a perfect heart.

On the night that changed my life, I saw a perfect heart.

Through my tears, through my fears, I saw a perfect heart.

To break my denial, I saw a perfect heart.

To calm my anger, I saw a perfect heart.

To silence my accusations, I saw a perfect heart.

A force pinned me to the ground, I saw a perfect heart.

My chest felt the warmth of love, I saw a perfect heart.

Tears flowed from my eyes, I saw a perfect heart.

My hands began to shake, I saw a perfect heart.

His voice spoke to me, I saw a perfect heart.

I cried and cried and cried, I saw a perfect heart.

His love gave me life, I saw a perfect heart.

I looked into the clear night sky and saw a perfect heart.

A constellation in the heavens, I saw a perfect heart.

Three words I heard from God.

Three words I heard him speak.

Three words he gave to me, so that I could give to you.

“I love you.” He said to me, so I could say to you.

God is real. I know he his. I put every bit of my faith into the absolute CONFIDENCE of him being real. His love is real. His love for you is real. Not because we loved Him first, but because He loved us. Even if you don’t love him, He loves you. Even if you don’t believe in him, he loves you.

The greatest love ever given was placed on a cross. With a simple message attached to it:

“Be mine.”

-Love, God



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For more on Matt and the LoVE sign visit: http://www.mylovesign.com

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