Love is…Honest

I rolled into the doctor’s office today upon Yaacov’s request–and because I’m desperately ill. I might have the flu (I’m seriously so peace-filled though that I don’t even care), so it ended up that Dr. Perry would have to recycle the magazines I irresponsibly covered in germs. Oops. It was perfect though, because the alternative was that I could keep them and I had just finished wishing that I could take a certain issue of Family Circle home. Now, you all probably know that this blogging thing is just a hobby and no one pays me or would care what my opinions are on controversial matters, right? That means I get to share whatever’s on my heart.

Well, I know in the Christian world everyone is blogging about Target, but there is another issue I’m more concerned about. It’s not that Target isn’t a big deal, I just think it’s been covered. A lot. But I’m really surprised by this article that was actually published in the March 2016 issue on pages 101-108 of Family Circle. It’s called, “I Kept My Cancer a Secret”and goes on about three women who to great lengths to ensure others didn’t know they had cancer. It’s tragic in many ways.

1. Shame

If you look deeply into the printed words, you can see how the women were really just afraid to expose their “weakness” of having cancer. They wanted to seem strong, which isn’t the same as actually being strong.  Whether we are believers or not, we can all relate to not naturally embracing our weaknesses, right? But it’s more evidence that our society and the Word of God share very different goals. The Apostle Paul, for example, spent much of his letters illustrating the truth that the power of the Lord is seen most clearly when we settle into our weaknesses. The Redemption Groups that I’ve mentioned on here before teach the reminder that we can’t fill our vision with Him when our sight is obscured by ourselves. I will tell you any day of the week that my diagnosis was the best thing that ever happened to me, and if He hadn’t helped me lean into Him, to make me live out my weakness, I never could have made it through, or had the opportunity to receive the massive influx of love from His children.

One of the survivors in the article reported that she didn’t want people to know about the cancer because they would think she brought it on herself. I remember that my healthy vegan friend, Jessica, who died of lung cancer, feared the same thing. It’s a legitimate concern this day and age, but maybe if more people discuss it our society will eventually learn the truth. Hide it under a lampstand? NO! Maybe as a society, especially those of us who know real love, we can stop judging others by our assumptions or their past behavior and get into the moment. Let’s just love people, people.

2) Love

The next point is the theme I can’t get past, is how we are loving each other.The truth is, if we don’t give our loved ones the opportunity to support us during cancer, we are not loving them. It’s not loving to hide the truth, or to steal their opportunity to grow, learn and be blessed by the trials. It’s not love to try to rescue them from something the Lord determined was important for them to walk through. And it’s not loving to assume they wouldn’t want to know what you’re going through.

Loving someone is not the same as flattery or indulgence, either. It seems like the popular belief is that giving people what they want is love. (Could that be a contributing factor in people not believing God is loving? Because He doesn’t always give us what we want?) We rarely like the consequences that result from giving people what they want too much, yet in the moment we often do it. Yaacov and I have to remind each other that there’s a difference between blessing and spoiling our own kids, but somehow when we see kids who have trained their parents to indulge all their whims, the shock leaves us speechless. When we end up sheltering people from many life lessons, like with the need to obey, or to work hard, we aren’t being super-parents the way we sometimes convince ourselves. We might have good intentions, but that’s not always the same as loving well.

Sometimes when we make decisions like keeping a major diagnosis and treatment a secret, we can’t get past the obvious surface issues that make so much sense. But that’s why we need the Word, the Holy Spirit, and wise counsel to help us make the decisions. If we usurp that process, we end up tricked by the enemy into doing the most unloving thing imaginable in the misguided attempt to love deeply!

3) Redemption

So, we all make mistakes. We “love” selfishly instead of spiritually. We fail the same test whose content we just reviewed yesterday. We do the thing we just judged someone else for doing. I’m typing this because I don’t have it figured out yet–I’d estimate that over the past year I’ve grown closer to the Lord than ever, but still I sin as much as ever. Of course, I often think I’m so changed that my purity must emanate from my pores. Then I get knocked back on the floor and realize my gross (size XL!), filthy clothes have been mended and bleached clean, but I still rolled around in the mud again all day. If you’re a devoted believer, you’re probably the same way. Paul says, “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18-19). That sounds oddly similar to what I moan heavenward each morning…The good news is, we are redeemed! We are awful, but He is awesome! We are sinful but He is sufficient! We forsake Him, but He forgives us!

Intertwined through the secular magazine story I noticed a victory: Despite the women’s initial desperate attempts to hide their cancer, they eventually began to share about it, and are now devoted to publicly discussing it. That is evidence of His Sovereignty. I have no idea whether or not they ever have or ever will follow Him, but He knows all that. In this case, what we do know is that they eventually humbled themselves and discovered the richness of sharing the truth. That wasn’t “by mistake”, it was because His purposes never fail. It was all part of the plan. So, they were redeemed, in spite of themselves.

No matter how many times you rolled around in the dirt today, you, too, can be redeemed. Permanently. While you were still a sinner, Christ died for you (Romans 5:8). You didn’t earn it, and you never can. But you can spend eternity worshiping the only one who can make you truly clean. If you don’t believe that, go back to the Holy Spirit, Word of God, and truly wise counsel you just read about until you do believe it (or message me and I’ll find you some!).