Let’s revisit Paul’s emotional connection to the church of Philippi that we talked about yesterday. The term affection refers to internal organs. Paul is communicating to this church plant, “I love you so much it hurts. I get a little queezy inside when I think about how much I care for you.”
<> Have you ever loved someone so much that it hurt?
Honestly I can only think of two types of relationships that involve this kind of emotional intensity: A spouse’s love and a parent’s love for a child.
(If you are coming from a broken marriage or family, please work with me here: Do everything you can to turn off your own experience regarding the pain of divorce and think on how you wish your spouse or parents had loved you.)
There’s a reason why these are the two types of relationships that come to mind: They are the two main relational pictures God uses for His love for us. This is not the only time Paul references affection that hurts.
Go read Romans 12:9-15.
<> Is vs. 15 a prescription or a description? Does Paul command them to act in a certain way or talk about the way they are all acting?
<> Why does Paul say to mourn with those who mourn?
When following Jesus there is a certain assumption that trial and suffering are on the way. Jesus promised it in John 15:18-20. So as we follow Jesus in a community of believers, there is an assumption that those close to us are going to hurt at regular intervals. In those moments, the questions is will you walk through the pain with them and “mourn with those who mourn” or will you walk away because it hurts too much?
Before you get all defensive or cowardly, remember that Jesus is our model for this kind of affection that risks pain. Aren’t you glad that Jesus was willing to love you no matter what pain it cost Him?
<> Who are people in your life that you have chosen to love no matter what it costs?
<> Are there any areas of your life where you have failed to walk through someone else’s pain with them and you need to repent?
(** BE CAREFUL: The overreaction to apathy is a messiah complex where you think your ability to love is the answer to everyone’s problems. You will burn out. Your pride will fail. You are not the answer. Jesus is. So, learn how to rely on Him and follow His leading as He walks helps you love people through pain.)