Yesterday afternoon I went to the grocery store. I picked up a small carton of cherry tomatoes. It came open and spilled onto the floor. I was going to find someone to clean it up when I realized a young man with Down’s Syndrome was picking up the tomatoes carefully—one by one.
I offered to help him, but his grandmother encouraged me to let him do it. He worked diligently concentrating on his project. When he had finished, he stood up and threw his arms around my neck, and hugged me tightly. Over and over, he said he loved me. He didn’t want to let me go. And, honestly, I didn’t want to let him go either.
His love was patient, and it was kind. He sought nothing in return. He didn’t seek a hug. He wanted to give one. He was not put out that tomatoes had fallen in his way. He didn’t see them as a problem but as an opportunity. He just wanted to help and to love. He had nothing in him that was capable of being bothered or offended. His love was genuine. It was giving. Uncluttered. Unhurried. Unconditional.
Life has a way of making love difficult. But love is simple like the love of this young man. We make it difficult. We allow jealousy and pride to get in the way. We think our way is best and take every chance to press our point. We hold on to things that have hurt us and allow unforgiveness to claim our hearts.
God’s love is like the love of this precious young man. “It is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:5-7).
Without the simple faith of a child that believes beyond human reasoning, our love will be guarded and careful. We will judge if someone is worthy of receiving our love. Filled with doubts about our own right standing with God, we won’t receive and freely share love. Our feelings will rule us. Our lives will be cluttered with fear, hurt, and bitterness. We will rush hurriedly through life missing the opportunities that are presented to us to love unconditionally as we have been loved.
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
This young man might have been considered more of a child but he was more of a man of understanding than most who are chronologically challenged. This young man is the one who freely believes and receives all things. Nothing stands in his way.
It is time for us to grow up and allow the new person we have become in Christ to change us. Never frustrate the grace of Jesus. Freely love and give without expectation. Freely respond when others love you. Be free in the love that is yours in Christ. Allow His love to be who you are.
© 2023 Lynn Lacher