I showed a clip near the end that finishes with Bella saying this:
‘I’d never given much thought to how I would die but dying in the place of someone I love seems like a good way to go...’
What a great line and is very similar to this fro John 15:13 (NIV)
'Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.'
SO what is love all about that it can be so strong that one person would lay down their life for another?
That is true love, to lay down one’s life and that is what Jesus did for every single one of us. He died in our place. Did you know that? Jesus wasn’t just a baby who was born in a barn, he actually died for every single one of us and he would have done it if you were the only person on the planet. Pretty full on right?
The bible says that God IS love.
I think that when God created humans (whether you look at it from an allegorical point of view or word for word) he did so out of love. To share what he had. To love is to receive as well as give. We often talk about giving being the best thing but true love is a mutual thing. I think God wanted to love - to give it away but also to receive it - he wanted a relationship with us.
And love is meant to be shared, by it’s very nature it is not something that can be held in, when you love someone you want to be with them, you want to talk about them, can’t stop thinking about them. Love is to be shared.
It is also something that we need, that we desire. We want to be with others, we want to be loved. I think it is inherent in who we are as human beings. We have a need to be in relationship with others. It’s unlikely we’ll ever have to give our life for a friend - in the armed forces maybe - but we will probably be in situations where we do things out of love or act in love, that would seem irrational to others.
The problem is, as humans, it doesn’t always work out right. We let each other down, we say mean things, we hurt people, and we get let down, others do it to us, we get hurt, and so our view of love gets distorted and we end up looking for it in the wrong places.
we often get confused, we mistake others things for love. The bible says this about love:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails
hmm can we all say we adhere to that?
So I thought I’d tell you a bit about myself and how it took me a long time to realise what true love looks like. Because we all have a distorted view of love, based on our own experiences.
I was brought up going to church and I am sure that my parents love me, but for whatever reason I grew up feeling that I wasn’t loved. I am not going to blame my parents for this, because they were great, and I am a parent now and I know how hard it is! You just try and do your best. So it's not that they did anything wrong, I just believed that I wasn't really worthwhile. At school I was creative where the school was quite academic, so I didn’t get much support there either.
Anyway, when I was about 16 I started to ‘go off the rails’. I guess it started because I didn’t really like who I was. I stopped eating, I thought I was fat, I didn’t like the way I looked. I didn’t feel affirmed in who I was. I was trying to be someone else. I started dressing differently, went a bit ‘alternative’ - tie-dye, dreads, ripped clothes etc.
I went to art college at 1, and I started hanging out with a different crowd where I felt accepted. I thought that these people were my true friends, that they understood me, but I know now as I look back, they didn’t really know the real me as I was trying so hard to be someone else. But at the time I didn’t realise that, and as I got more and more in with this group I got into other stuff too, we drank a lot, did drugs. It started out with a bit of pot, but then there was other stuff on offer and so I took it - I wanted to fit in I guess.
At 19 I had a place to go to uni and at the last minute I decided not to go and I went travelling instead. Needless to say my parents were not exactly happy about this and that probably added to my desperation to get away. Now, it's perfectly normal to want to leave home at 18, not everyone does it because they are struggling, but for me it was trying to escape what I felt about myself, and of course I just took that with me.
During that time, I got into some pretty stupid situations. And I’m going to tell you this because sometimes you can hear stories of young people doing stupid things and you think, they must be pretty thick, or uneducated or stupid to do that, but I was well educated, I came from a good home, I was not stupid. The truth is it’s actually really easy to be led astray. It doesn’t take much!
I would walk home by myself in foreign cities at 3 in the morning, I bought drugs from a guy on the street that I didn’t know, I took drugs from people in clubs that I didn’t know. I wasn’t eating and was living off a diet of houmous and pittas, with the odd cup a soup!
I was desperate to be loved and I looked for that love in the wrong men...
Eventually I ended up pregnant. I was in Australia, 12,000 miles from home, with a guy who was an alcoholic and certainly didn’t love me. I had no money, I didn’t have a job at that time, no one to help me, to be honest I didn’t think the baby would survive with all the stuff I had been doing. But it did and I knew I had to keep it, it was kind of like a wake-up call. I totally believe that God sent me that wake up call. And I don’t mean that he got me pregnant by some kind of divine conception, no! but if my life hadn’t changed right then I honestly don’t know what would have happened, it was a really destructive path.
Anway I did come home, I called up my mum who paid for a ticket and that was the beginning of a change in my life. Like God was on my case... Things changed, I had my daughter and eventually I met a nice guy, we got married had 2 more kids... But I still seeking something. We finally had an experience where we encountered God truly and had a realisation of who he is and how much he loves us and now it’s like I can’t get enough!
The truth is that we can only find that true love that we need in God. What we have here is a reflection, if you like, of how God loves us, and reflections can be distorted. He is the only one who will, and has, truly laid down his life for us in true love.
I spent much of my life getting distracted and pulled away from God by the things I thought would make me a better person or the things that I thought might make people like me more, and ended up getting sucked into a downward spiral. I thank God that he didn’t give up on me... Because he is always there. Always wants a relationship with us no matter what we have done or who we are.
I finished with this clip which I have blogged before buy I love it, and it was a perfect way to end this talk...