LOVED and VAL­UED

Activated - - NEWS - MARIE ALVERO IS A FOR­MER MIS­SION­ARY TO AFRICA AND MEX­ICO. SHE CUR­RENTLY LIVES A HAPPY, BUSY LIFE WITH HER HUS­BAND AND CHIL­DREN IN CEN­TRAL TEXAS, USA. BY MARIE ALVERO

WHEN ASKED WHICH WAS THE GREAT­EST OF GOD’S COMMANDMENTS, Je­sus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind [and] love your neigh­bor as your­self. The en­tire law and all the de­mands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

1 He ob­vi­ously knew that in learn­ing to love, we would learn what it means to be holy. I think He also knew that this was prob­a­bly the hard­est com­mand­ment to live up to. We could have coped bet­ter with a list of rules—at least then, we’d all know who was hack­ing it and who wasn’t. Who was wor­thy and who wasn’t. Now we’re stuck with the im­pos­si­ble task of lov­ing those around us, even if they seem un­wor­thy.

But for the long­est time, that wasn’t my take on His commandments. I some­how equated love with wor­thi­ness. God loved me be­cause I was wor­thy of His love, and I loved oth­ers who were wor­thy of my love.

Then one day, my heart fi­nally asked the ques­tion: What have I done that has made me wor­thy of God’s love? Noth­ing. Have I mag­i­cally kept my sins and short­com­ings within a “love­able” scor­ing? Nope. I came to the re­al­iza­tion that He doesn’t love me be­cause I’m wor­thy, but I’m wor­thy be­cause He loves me. Hon­estly, it took a while for that to sink into my brain. It was ex­tremely lib­er­at­ing to re­al­ize that I wasn’t on a quest to score as many “love” points as I could. It was also deeply hum­bling to re­al­ize I was fully and com­pletely loved, with­out de­serv­ing it at all.

How coun­ter­cul­tural is that! In a world that equates value with achieve­ments, scor­ings, and num­bers, the only rea­son I’m valu­able to God is be­cause He loves me. That’s when I fi­nally un­der­stood what John meant when he said that we love God be­cause He first loved us.

2 When we un­der­stand the depth of God’s love for us, and the ex­tent to which we are un­wor­thy of it, how can we not love Him!

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