Ciao.


Lately I have been having  quite the battle against misanthropic cynicism. People have frustrated me repeatedly and I’ve been trying not to let it get to me. I’ve been trying desperately sometimes not to be disgusted with humanity.

The last few months God has been convicting me on loving people instead of loving victory in an argument. It was difficult for me, but He really began to work in me. I began to feel like His love was just filling me to the point of bursting. His love began to motivate me to do things I normally wouldn’t do. Simple things, be it talking to strangers, and praying for people in public, or more complicated things, like opening up and making myself vulnerable to people, showing them who I really am.

    This openness and vulnerability cost me dearly. I had imagined that if I trusted completely that people would never hurt me. I was sorely mistaken. The past few months I’ve felt a strange mixture of abounding love, disheartenment, and let down. I will tell you, I nearly allowed the let down to rob me of the joy of trusting and loving people.

    Yet God always proves faithful. Through all the disappointments He revealed to me some things about love that I always thought I knew. He reminded me of two aspects of 1 Corinthians 13: love is not self-seeking and love endures all things. I had not exactly been practicing these. At least I had not been practicing them as much as I should have been. 

    He taught me that I cannot go into a friendship with selfish intentions. I like being liked and I had let that effect how I would go about friendship. Somewhere along the line I had begun to lose sight of loving people for who they are and started trying to love people just because I wanted to be a loving person and liked because of it.

    It occured to me, that is not how Jesus loves. He doesn’t love us for the hope of getting something from us, He just loves because that is Who He is. He did not seek His own will, but that of the Father (“Yet not My will, but Thine be done.”). In the same way, that is how we should love: not hoping to gain something from other people, not even admiration, but loving them for their sake and to carry out the will of the Father.

    Philippians 2 talks about how Jesus loved by not being self-seeking. It says He took “the very nature of a servant.” The Almighty God became a servant. That thought should be enough to keep us in perpetual awe. I was reminded of that profound truth one day when I looked up the meaning of a word I use very frequently. ‘Ciao’ is just a simple Italian farewell. I often use it without really thinking about it. But when I looked up the actual meaning I was blown away. It literally means: “I am your slave.”

    We are called to be the servants of other people. To consider them better than ourselves (Phil. 2). People sin, mess up, hurt others, etc., yet we are still to serve them anyway. I need to remind myself of that frequently. When a friend hurts me, when some one cuts me off on the highway, when my professor insults me. I constantly need to remember: “Ciao. Jesus loves you; therefore I love you. Jesus was a servant; therefore I am a servant. Ciao.” 

    Interestingly, that perspective helps me with the second part. When I am remembering that I am their servant, not my own, it helps me to “endure all things.” Loving like Jesus is difficult, but by His Spirit it is possible. I have to remember that I love people because He loved me. He chose me and bought me and loved me while I was unlovable. He did that for them as well. Now out of gratitude I should love those that He loves.

    I have found that the same love He had instilled in me remains though it is being suplimented with endurance. I’ve discovered that love is more than affection; love is also determination. After I was hurt by some one I had opened up to I found a new response that I can only attribute to God’s work in my heart. The response was: “I am determined to love you. You can hurt me. You can reject me. You can push me away. But I will still love you. Jesus loves you, Jesus will never stop loving you; therefore I love you, I will never stop loving you.”

    I was so disappointed by being hurt by those I tried to love that I had decided not to trust people anymore. But then I was smitten with the astounding truth that God didn’t want me to trust people in the first place, but to trust Him instead. I found that when I trusted God for my affirmation, for my acceptance, for my love, I did not need it from people. I also found that when I trusted God, I trusted God’s work in people. I found that when I trusted God, He taught me how to love people.

    Out of trusting God I have learned to love and trust people. To love regardless of what they have done or what they will do. To love them with determination. To love them as a bond-servant, some one who willingly chooses to continue being a slave after being set free, loves his master. Well, that’s all I have to say right now. That is what God has been doing in my heart. So I’ll end this blog here. I hope you enjoyed my heart-felt ramblings and my pictures (even though I have no idea what the boats had to do with anything) and I hope it made sense to you.

Ciao.

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About Jonathon Thigpen

I am a student, writer, photographer, traveler, teacher, and Lego enthusiast, who is endeavouring to be a man after God's own heart.
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10 Responses to Ciao.

  1. Carson says:

    You know, I can totally relate to that, being a friend to have a friend, loving to be loved, always expecting something back, being, you might say, an expressor impressor. Even to the point that I at times expect that people will simply instantly change if I start loving them, become automatically how I’d like for them to be.
    Oh that He would instill and inspire this truth in me.. that is to say, God, I believe, please help me believe.

    • Interesting how easy it is to do that, is it not? It is so fascinating how the love God instills in us is so radically different from anything we can have on our own. Really quite mind-blowing! And that is a great thing to pray for. Keep striving, brother.

  2. Wow Jonathon,
    This was truly touching. I too have been having this problem. You have opened my eyes to a new light. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Annie says:

    Jesus unconditionally loves you. There’s something so profound about the truth of His friendship. It far supersedes that of human love, yet in Him we are able to have wonderful, godly relationships with humanity(not without flaw, but the sort that REFLECT His unconditional love). There is indeed a difference between trusting a friend to live in accordance with who they are in Christ (while still being human), and trusting a friend to take the place of our Lord. Both the love of a Christian brother or sister and the love of our God are beautiful things, but our trust in relation to each operates differently. We are not to expect perfect trustworthiness from each other, but to cultivate that characteristic in each other’s hearts.
    “The springs of love are in God, not in us. It is absurd to look for the love of God in our hearts naturally, it is only there when it has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” -Oswald Chambers
    Ciao, Jonathon. ; )

    • Ah amen! Quite a profound fact it is that He would choose to love us. Really quite unfathomable! Very good points on the love of God and the love of the brethren!
      Love the quote!
      Thanks for reading.
      Haha Ciao!

  4. musicmaiden says:

    I found your blog from Homeschool Alumni, a couple of weeks ago. It’s very good – thank you!

  5. Hannah says:

    Sir,
    I found your blog last night and tonight I am reading through some of the posts. I was attracted to this post because I often say “Ciao!” to people as my good-bye. I never knew it meant “I am your slave”. That made me cry a little, as I was thinking about all the times I told people that and never knew the literal meaning. What a beautiful thing…
    ~Hannah

    • Well, welcome to my blog! Thanks for reading!
      It’s fascinating the profound implications a simple word can have, isn’t it? Funny the things we say without thinking about them.
      Thanks for reading!

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