by Pastor Lee Hemen
June 11, 2008
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
Such a simple verse, yet it carries with is such a huge truth and its implications are far reaching for our lives. In a world where love has been reduced to rutting and acting like mere animals, we have lost sight of what this word truly means. Oh, I have heard the myriad of sermons that discuss ad nausea the different Greek words for “love” in the Bible and in Greek culture. But let’s not go there, yet, if at all. Let’s just talk about what this word is supposed to mean right here, right now.
My father was not one to say the word “love” out loud. He was raised during a time when men were men and not some mannequin with coiffed hair, a shiny suit, and flashy pearly white teeth. It was a time when men were measured by their word as it was followed up in action, not in a “I feel your pain” phoniness. Love of country was shown by the sacrifice of hearth and home and of self if necessary. Love of family was demonstrated by hard work, telling the truth, being faithful and having integrity. Love for God was shown in loyalty to church, attendance, and selfless-giving of time, talent, and treasure. Excuses were not made, never uttered, and were seen as weakness for those who would rather whine than do what was expected of them. And, folks, this is why I love Jesus.
I love Jesus because He shows us what a real man is to be like. He is the epitome of manliness and the demonstration of what I just described above. When I looked at Jesus and His life for the first time without having some priest or pastor tell me who Jesus was, I was astounded. Astounded that they never described for me the actual man, Jesus. He always came across as some wimp who went about being a goodie-two-shoes, soft-spoken, thin, kind of all knowing ethereal human being. Ugh! Double ugh! I was shocked to learn that Jesus was a lot like the real men I grew up with and admired. He was loyal, full of integrity, always spoke the truth, was bold, strong, had a great sense of purpose and self worth and loved to laugh at Himself and others. Sadly, much of Christianity has lost who Jesus truly is: love. Love just like these men were and are that I described earlier. I read a popular book about Christian men, and I will not give out the name of it nor its author in order to graciously protect him. While it had some good things within its pages, it was full of a lot of Christian psychobabble. I ended up throwing the book away, because I did not want anyone else to ever read the copy I owned. I also tore the pages out of it first just to make sure no one would ever piece it together and read the tripe it contained!
However, I love Jesus because He had the audacity to first love me. When I was truly unlovable, a sinner, depraved, and utterly contemptible in the sight of God, Jesus loved me. How do I know this to be true? Well look at His actions. Look at His oneness of purpose. How He kept His word, joked, laughed, and boldly did the hard task without whining and expected His followers to do the same and even more! This was no “I feel your pain, so I guess I will die for you,” kind of selfishness. It was a resolute act of will whereby His total life lead to one moment in time that He knew He would have to face alone, where even those who followed Him would desert Him. Yet He followed through to the end. He took the hill, He kept His word, He willing did the tough thing and did it without analyzing it to death.
People want to focus on Jesus’ tears as if this will make Him more “sensitive” in their perspective. How He wept over Jerusalem, His friend Lazarus’ death, His own fear in the garden and how that will somehow make Him seem smaller and more sensitive and thereby feminize Him more. Jesus’ tears were never offered that way. No real man’s tears ever are. It has nothing to do with not being afraid to cry in public as a man. Men know what to shed tears over. Love of country, friends you love, family, and those you sacrifice yourself for. Isn’t this what Jesus did?
I love Jesus because as a man He first loved me and showed me just what a man is. Not through words alone, but in His life and how He lived it. My love for Him is demonstrated in my own life through my actions of being a Godly man. I follow my leader who was and is a real man. Do you?
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety.