Love hurts. We wish it didn't. Love is risky. Wish it wasn't. Love will cost you. But it's worth it!
Today we watched a session from the Advance Conference for N.A. I love these guys! They have a passion for planting and strengthening churches. In one session, Pastor Donnie Griggs recounts asking Larry Osborne a question. (Larry is sort of a guru or "Yoda" for leader multiplication and church health.) The question was, "How do you build leaders who will not take what they have learned and abandon you or hurt you?" Larry then talks about the many who have hurt him, blogged about him in negative terms, become divisive and more. He then says something like, "You can count on it. People will hurt you. There are no guarantees when it comes to building leaders. So when they hurt you and they will, you get up the next morning and do it all again. Because we do it for Jesus."
So good. It reminds me of the famous quote by C.S. Lewis that begins with, "To love at all is to be vulnerable." (I won't quote the rest of it because it's over used. But you can read it here.)
If you love enough to invest in people, you will reap some wonderful benefits. You'll also reap some prickly thorns and thistles that will stick you and make you want to never try again:
- You invest in a worship leader for years who chooses to sleep around rather than pursue his calling
- You mentor a guy who is secretly abusing his wife. You find out too late
- You mentor a leader who takes what you've taught him and abandons you at one of the darkest times
- You counsel a lady who agrees her marriage covenant is worth keeping. Months later she's divorced and remarried and in another church saying how bad of a pastor you are.
So far, God has been gracious to me and given me the courage and the compassion to love again. Mostly, because I know how fickle I can be and how God continues to never give up on me. He continues to love so how can I quit? If anyone knows how much love hurts, it's God. Yet His mercies are new every morning!
Get up and love again!