The other day I was having a lovely lunch with my young son and mother. Though my mom is an extremely youthful octogenarian, she amused me when she asked, “Liz, tell me something, what does LMFAO mean when people comment with that on their Facebook page?” Oh boy! Not one who enjoys cursing in front of my mom, I told her what the acronym’s letters stood for and assured her that I never use it with the middle letter attached when someone tells me something funny.
Long after I answered her question, I was still thinking about what it could stand for. You see, in the deep cranial cavities of Liz Logic, I am kind of an acronym aficionado, if there is such a thing. When I see unfamiliar acronyms, I love to see if I can figure out what they stand for based on context of a website or article etc.
At church, we have sermon notes, with blanks left out for key words that will be divulged during the sermon. Pastor, I’m one step ahead of you; I got this one I always think to myself. I like to think I know my bible well enough, that I can guess the key words before he teaches us with an amazing sermon. And you guessed it, I often get it wrong. I see an L__________ (fill in the blank) and go ahead and put LOVE! Only to find out, the answer was Live!
It’s a mental game I play with myself, seeing if I can decipher answers before sitting still long enough to receive the answers from someone who just may possibly know more than I do.
Get to the point Liz! OK, here’s the thing. So I was pondering a better answer I could have given my mom for the off-colored acronym for a response to a humorous comment one makes on Facebook. EUREKA! It just came to me, like this, in a Liz-Flash of inspiration.
Live My Faith; Accept Others
It seems like the last year of my life has been one of the best years I’ve ever had. But it’s not because every situation in my life is hunky dory all the time. Far from it! I don’t know if it’s because the sands of the hour glass are heavier on the bottom side of my life, or God has just graced me with more wisdom, but this message just keeps ringing true these days–repeatedly!
Here’s why: I have been involved in a neighborhood bible study group with the loveliest friends I have ever known for the last fifteen years. Some of us leave for a season and come back; some simply move on to other things in life, but the core friendships remain the same. We are a platoon of moms, wives, daughters, sisters, and friends and we have seen it all and been through it all in our own lives. We’ve been through multiple deaths, births, and struggles with our families and deep within ourselves. We’ve laughed and cried together all these years and probably wouldn’t have had the strength to face some of the things we faced, had it not been for one another. Sometimes we look back, and think, how in the world did we even survive that? Only one answer rings true, but for God.
Something one dear friend said, especially grabbed me last night. She said, “You know the answer in life is just so simple.” Impossible at times to execute, but so simple to understand:
“Just love one another”
If we all could just truly love one another, and accept one another, we wouldn’t be at war within our families, or within the world, and even within ourselves. You don’t think you’re at war within yourself? Think again. Do you ever participate in self-condemnation? I’m so fat or I’m so stupid? Do you ever participate in pride, or judging others?
See, this truth is the heart of our faith–to just love one another! Where do you feel the most free in life? It’s probably in the friendships and relationships where you feel totally accepted in life, despite what they know about you, or your quirks, or your flaws, or your areas that you are working on.
We’ve learned some other things in life too. It’s not enough to just love each other in our little “holy huddle.” There is a hurting world outside just beyond the smell of our fresh coffee and raucous laughter. We know! That’s the world we always go back to when our time together is up.
Our personalities, political persuasions, professional choices, and how we school and parent our children vary vastly. Yet we are in agreement on this bedrock principal. Just love! We don’t have to beat the others in our family or in the world with bible verses. It’s not our position to save, but our privilege to share. We can share our testimonies and our faith as we understand it if asked, but ultimately it is our kindness or love (or sadly, lack of) that tells the truth of who we claim to be.
Sometimes I personally feel like I’m the worst as far as being an effective ambassador or servant of Christ. I’m so full of inconsistencies! I’m full of pride sometimes! I still sin, not only as defined in the bible, but as that voice in my head that says this doesn’t honor God. Yes, I struggle! I’m real! I think we’ve all taken turns passing the self-condemnation ball around but I also know that this is a tactic from an enemy who wishes to see us destroy ourselves, and NOT the wrath of an angry God.
At the end of the day I know God is a mighty big God. He has a sense of humor and strength that far surpasses mine. After all He’s God! He knows my obsessions, my fears, my tears, and my confessions! (Whoa…that rhyme just tumbled out!). But He does! He probably laughs and says, “There, there my precious child. You’re going to be okay. I’ve got it covered. I know ALL about this, but I love you anyway. That situation that’s making you nuts or you’re totally afraid of? It’s all going to be ok. Trust me. Be patient. Have faith. Don’t be angry at others; just love. Yes, grow in love.”
I’m still growing up. But the love comes easier these days. I don’t have to stay confined to this group or that group of people. I don’t have to put people in a category. It’d be better if I ignore any splinters in my neighbor’s eye, considering I have enough planks in my eye to build a deck, quite possibly on a ship.
Though I still get mad, and frustrated, and lose it sometimes, I’m learning I have a place to return. It’s the heart of our creator. Proverbs 4:23 teaches us “Guard your heart; for it is the wellspring of life” has never been truer than now. I’m pretty sure God doesn’t want us to build a fortress around it, as to not contaminate it, but to build bridges from it and let the love spill out into the world. I think this verse is misunderstood as to not let anything corrupt us. This is true, but I think it also means to not fear those that believe differently, those who have a different opinion of truth. I think of it as guarding your heart from falling prey to fear, cynicism, judgment, condemnation, or categorizing. Just breathe life-affirming love into others. Let God worry about the rest.
Is our faith so fragile, we could lose it by loving those that are different? I hope not. That’s not what Jesus did and it’s not what I want to do either. Though I’ve certainly been guilty of that, it’s not who I am anymore—at least I’m trying not to be that person!
For me, Jesus was perfect and I’m so not, and honestly neither has anyone who speaks in His name for the last two thousand years or so. I think He would be a lot more popular if the world could see more love from those that claim to follow Him.
Love is not to be contained, or given to only those we deem lovely or loveable. It is not reserved for the deserving, or folks like us. It’s so much more than a cliché too; it’s actually a commandment…to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, but don’t forget the second part—to love our neighbor as our self!
The world and its inhabitants have always and will always need more love and peace. Just start with you. Start now. Where is the love?