When was the last time you cried tears of joy? I don’t mean pretty delicate movie tears that trickle down our cheeks. But snot snivelled ugly cried because something moved you so deeply because of the beauty of it?
We see it all over the internet. From someone getting the latest pair of sneakers to a wedding proposal that went particularly well.
I’ve been shedding some tears these days too.
I am lucky enough to work for a Christian not-for-profit organisation that seeks to change the world for God’s glory. It’s my privilege to tell stories of lives transformed; of hope restored to children and families in challenging circumstances.
I try to hold it in, but I’ve been known to ugly cry at some of the stories that come to us from various projects around the world.
I see God’s goodness every day I open my laptop to work. I see it in the people who put up their hands to say they will prayerfully and financially support another. I see it in the way God’s people all around the world come together to support their communities. And I see it in my colleagues who devote their talent and time to do the good work God has set out for them.
At first I thought I was moved by that goodness. It’s a beautiful thing in a world marred by human sin and poverty. A light in the darkness that calls us to something better; to do better.
But lately I’ve been wondering if it’s more than that. I’ve been wondering recently if my bouts of ugly crying is because I’m moved by something greater — love.
I know. It can sound a little corny/naff/daggy. But hear me out.
This is not just the hearts and flowers emotion. But love that has crawled broken and bleeding through the darkness to get to us.
I’m not sure you’re aware, but we Christians are privy to a great truth. We are loved by the God who created all things and we are loved beyond life itself. Not because we’re somehow special. But because God is merciful.
As that famous part of scripture says
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
The God who called us to Him — the Jesus we follow — sacrificed Himself on the cross, died a brutal death, endured hell, because of His great love for us. He took the consequences of our selfishness, our rebelliousness, because of perfect, all sacrificing love.
Understanding and accepting that love for us changes everything. We are transformed from the inside out.
No longer are we stumbling around in the dark, drifting through life without purpose. We have been given a mission to make that source of love known throughout the world. And commanded to love others as we would love ourselves.
It’s there in black and white in 1 John 4:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.1 John 4:7-9 (NIV)
It’s more than just a passing emotion. This love is something that motivates us to action; to be the good we want to see.
This love sent people across the oceans to tell others about Jesus. This love created homeless shelters, schools and hospitals. It has endured hardships and forgiven pain.
The endeavours have not been perfect. Sometimes far from it. But with the hypocrisy should stand a desire to strive to love as we have been loved. To obey the commands to love God and our neighbours. Even though we may fail dismally sometimes.
Maybe that’s why I sometimes ugly cry when I see God at work through His people. The goodness we see is just a taste of His great love for us. A reminder of the love that was poured out to us on the cross.
And that love changes everything.