// L O V E //
It’s been a super weird season of life for myself these past couple of months as I wrap up my undergraduate career at Kentucky Christian University and thrust myself into the wolf’s den called the “real world.” I’ve been so incredibly blessed as I have walked through life with some of my closest friends and companions here in Grayson, Kentucky. I’ve been able to travel and to lead worship with my closest friends. I’ve seen a large amount of this country that we live in, and stepped foot in the international missions field being able to preach the Gospel in the country of Barbados. I’ve lived with a family that I love so deeply for six months as I spent time with a beautiful congregation in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been learning under countless mentors and shepherds who want nothing but to see me succeed as a pastor, future husband, future father, and man. I’ve grown closer with people that I never though I’d be close with again. All of these things are incredible and I am so truthful when I say that I do NOT deserve anything that I have just listed, but a central overlying theme that is over all of this season of craziness and growth is this;
Love is legit, man.
Now, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not talking about the cultural idea of Hollywood-hot-pink love, (to quote the prophet, John Mayer) but REAL love. The love that Jesus teaches us about. The love that is not only based upon our emotional reaction to a situation but that is calculating and thought-based as well.
Twenty-Sixteen was the darkest place that I have ever found myself in. Truth be told, there are only a few number of you that know how deep into a pit of despair and fear I was in. I was ready to walk away from ministry, Jesus, and a life filled with the hope that lies within Him. There is a sort of apprehension that lies in that previous statement, but I want to be very intentional and extremely clear about one thing; the only reason that I am the man that I am today is because of love.
Love is messy. Love is hard. Love takes time. It takes an eagerness and willingness to say to ourselves that we are voluntarily placing ourselves in the darkest of place to help our brother or sister emerge and point them to Jesus. I owe EVERYTHING to a select number of people who said that they are going to take up the duty of pulling me out of fear and desperation and into the hope, grace, and peace that lies within the Gospel and Jesus Christ. If it was not for them, I wouldn’t be the man that I am today and I so much owe everything to them. So, thank you. You know who you are.
I say all of that to say this;
Love is the best thing that we can ever experience or give and it’s something that I vowed to myself that I will give my entire being to showing people love REGARDLESS of the the condition that they are currently in.
So what does this look like? Anger? Gone. Bitterness? See ya. Fear? Out the window.
And I know what you’re thinking; “Kyle, there is no way that you will never feel those emotions again! It’s impossible!” My response to you is, yes, absolutely. You are one-hundred percent correct. There are things that will make me angry. I will feel bitterness. Fear is real. There is pain in this world. There is brokenness.
I will NEVER say that I have my entire life all together, because trust me, those who know me know that I am a broken man, who is radically transformed by Jesus and His grace, who will CONTINUALLY fail to live up to my title of Child of God because of my brokenness. But get this, ya’ll;
What happens when we get angry, we love? What happens when there is fear that is so crippling, fear beyond our wildest imaginations, but we know love instead? What happens when we see our Creator instead of hate? What happens when we hear lies about ourselves and refuse to let those lies overpower the RESOUNDING sound of Jesus’ love for us?
When we choose to live like this, our worldview is RADICALLY different, man. And I truly believe that this is what Jesus calls us to do as His disciples.
One of my best friend and I’s verses throughout Scripture and one of our central pillars of our existence is this;
35 “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)
I’m going to love people. Regardless of where they came from, regardless of background, color, religious affiliation, or thought, I will love. I will love myself. I will love my family. I will love my enemy. I will love the lost, the found, the broken, and the all-together. The drug addict, the drug dealer, those who slander against me, and those who want to see me fail. I will love those who persecute me, beat me, and hate, all because of this, ya’ll;
16 “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” 1 John 4:16 (NLT)
Love is legit, man. It’s what drives me to be a better man, friend, and follower of Jesus every single day. Regardless of whatever you are going through in your individual point of life right now, just please know that YOU are so loved. Not only by the Creator of this entire universe, but if it counts for anything, me too.
“Love can break your bones, but broken bones tell stories, and broken bones sing songs.”
-John Mark McMillan.