This post was written by a friend of mine who served the Gospel in a region of Africa that will remain unnamed. These are his thoughts, the passion of his heart:
I can’t say that living love is an easy thing, but it is well worth it, every moment of it, when you deny yourself and serve another. I have read about, heard about, and have been the beneficiary of one laying down his life in love, but in terms of actually living that out, I was very wet behind the ears. I learned what this really means back when I was at my internship site. Often times we find that others have needs, ranging from physical to emotional to spiritual and relational needs. It is my experience that you cannot fulfill everyone’s needs, but you can be a part of helping to fulfill those needs.
We don’t have all the money in the world, but what we do have, we give with a glad heart. At times in this country, I would be asked for money for A, B, C or D, not knowing how true that need was. But love is shown even in just helping them in another way, like putting down my agenda to serve them breakfast. To us, such hospitality meant so much, but in this culture, hospitality is the norm, nothing odd about it. I was taught a kind principle of love in hospitality and honoring a guest, yet I was not as nearly used to it until arriving there.
We cannot receive all the love we need from the world, but because of Jesus’ love, we can give our hearts still to befriending others. When they come just to get something or if they don’t relate in the same way, it may seem hard to love others because it doesn’t seem like there is love back. But God’s love compels you to understandably love them as people. It wasn’t always easy to see it that way. Often times, it seemed like a fight to just push people off of you when they bombarded you, yet I truly wanted to improve my tactic in love.
We ourselves don’t know the fullness of God’s love single-handedly, but we do know and experience His love, which is so real. I felt that only by living and abiding in Christ’s love could I then successfully/understandably communicate His love with others. The idea of communicating God’s love to a person with a different understanding and culture made me feel like I had to press extra hard into their lives to persistently show them love, sharing the Gospel in such a way that would make sense to them. I felt like I was out of lace doing it, but it was right. Language barrier was a hindrance at times, but in all attempts, even without words, I tried sharing God’s love with them in tangible ways.
Being back here now in the US, I feel as if God has taught me the most on living in love. There is a lot of pain involved, especially when you aren’t understood, but every ounce of pain that is replaced with gladness from God’s riches is very worth it! It is so right! Because we are from different cultures, we understand love differently. But because we all are human beings, genuine love is known by everyone who experiences it (with the help of just a little understanding). Understanding is key, and to build understanding takes time, yet its result is where love can bind the two people/groups together.