We all love a great love story. We love when someone courageously faces their fears and risks it all to love. We love to watch that story on film, TV, or read it in a book. However, most of us are terrified to actually live it. If you notice all great love stories have the same story arc.
The great love stories always find their climax as our hero or heroine makes THE CRITICAL CHOICE to face their fears, doubts and limitations and make the sacrificial choice to love.
We are not in a movie and no one is probably going to write a book about our life. But what kind of love story are you living? Here’s something I’ve learned from my friend Matt Tebbe. When conflict, disagreement and struggle arrive, we usually do one of three things.
- We FIGHT
- We FLEE
- We try to FIX it
Fighters stir up anger and rage and get ready for a fight! If we tend to flee, we cower, tuck our tail between our legs and FLEE. Fixers muster all their codependent strength and go to work to FIX the problem. We FIGHT, we FIX and some of us FLEE! What if we made the critical choice in our love story to FACE the issue with grace and truth?
Jesus lived and loved full of Grace and Truth. He always made the critical choice to FACE. His life is the greatest love story the world has ever known. As the end of his life was approaching he faced maybe his greatest critical choice. The book of Luke says Jesus “turned his face resolutely towards Jerusalem”. Why did he turn to face Jerusalem? Because, it was there that he would make his critical choice. His decision showed the world the greatest expression of love ever.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for their friends.
That is what Jesus did. He turned to face the greatest conflict the world has ever known. He was betrayed, mocked, spit on, laughed at, whipped and crucified for the sake of love. In that moment of truth he didn’t FLEE. He didn’t try to FIX the problem. He didn’t stir up his anger and start a FIGHT. Compelled by love, he resolutely set his FACE toward this challenge so that the world would know love.
I wish I loved like that more often. Truth be told, when I’m faced with a conflict in my marriage or friendships, I tend to flee. Fear gets the best of me and I flee. Left in my absence is the opportunity to learn to love and be loved. Yet, Jesus is teaching me graciously to face my fears. I am learning to set my face towards conflict and love. Guess what? I’m discovering that it’s always worth it.
We all love a good love story. However, there are no great love stories without great conflict. Great conflict either reveals us to be a lover or a runner, or a fixer or a fighter. The lovers journey, the heroes journey, the journey that I know you and I long to live, is only experienced as we resolutely set our face towards the conflict and choose to love with grace and truth.
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