I have a confession to make. I’ve been waiting for my happily ever after, story book ending since I was in the 7th grade. What I loved about romance novels was there was always a beginning, middle, and end. No matter what obstacles were thrown in the protagonists’ paths, they would always end up together and in love.
There’s a part of me that’s made my future “One” into Frankenstein’s monster – only cuter. He has the humor of Jim Halpert from the Office and the scholarly, good looks of Tom Keen from the Blacklist (didn’t I say he was cute?!). But here’s the hard part – He won’t be the culmination of the best parts of these men, fictional or not. He’ll be a sinner saved by grace just as I am.
I’m learning that this doesn’t just apply to my future husband. It applies to every person we call a brother or sister in Christ. When you think that love has to be “cookie cutter” – clean and strictly defined, you’ll either always be hurt or disappointed. Loving people, even God’s people, is messy.
The perfect example of this is the story of the Good Samaritan:
Then Jesus answered (the lawyer) and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and he took care of him.” (Luke 10:30-34)
The heartbreaking part, we read, is that the ones who should have helped the hurting man didn’t. It was the Gentile, the Samaritan, who showed compassion. Recalling Jesus’s conversation with the woman at the well, also a Samaritan, who said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman? (John 4:9). The Good Samaritan may have been so moved because he also knew what it meant to be ignored by the Israelites. At some point, we’ve all been the one on the floor in need of help. But after so many years in Christ, we walk around those who are emotionally bloody and bruised even when they sit next to us in church. We become like the Pharisees who become sanitized but not sanctified to the broken.
Too often, I find myself wanting God’s love like a thirsty man begging for water. Yet am I willing to extend a cup of cold water in His name? Am I willing to love as Jesus does?
In our season of singleness, we can learn to love as He did. The greatest single Man who has ever walked the earth ate with the tax collectors and fellowshipped with the shunned. He embraced the blind, the deaf, the prostitutes, and the poor. It is a love that is greater than the books or movies and it is within our reach. It is now part of our reality as Christians to live and walk in His love on a daily basis.
Clean hands like the Pharisees don’t symbolize our innocence but our guilt. Jesus rolled up His sleeves before the Last Supper and washed 11 pairs of His disciples’ feet covered with the dust of the earth (including the ones that would betray Him. Ask yourself, if you knew you would be betrayed, would you still wash their feet?).
If we don’t show this kind of compassion and mercy to our neighbors, how will we do so to our future spouses? How can we expect so much from a sinner and give so little as a saint?
As single women living with purpose, we can care about the things of the Lord as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:34. So let’s live with our sleeves rolled back and our hearts wide open to loving like Jesus.
Do you engage in messy, holy love with the people in your life or do you run from the mess?
Liv Migenes is a 30-something single daughter serving a gracious God. When she’s not blogging to encourage women in their singleness and their walk with God, she’s reading or watching way too much Netflix (preferably The Office or Arrow). Her dream is to become a published writer in the near future. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or her blog –livmigenes.blogspot.com.