Genuine and Generous
My sister used to laugh at me, because in the course of conversation I would often mention a dear friend of mine. She would laugh, because she said that everyone was a dear friend to me. And I realized that she was right.
I don’t love with parts of me. If you are my friend, I am all in.
My life has been blessed with countless friends who feel the same way about me. They love me fully, faults and all, and there is no pretense.
Of course, when you love others with this almost reckless abandon, you open yourself up to deep hurts. It has been painful to learn that not everyone loves in this same way and the concept of seasonal friends is one that still doesn’t sit well with me even though I know it is reality.
Since I am surrounded by friends who are generous with their love and encouragement, I am surprised when I discover friends who think that this type of effusive love is disingenuous.
It’s not. For some. But for others, it might be. But this I know for sure…
I would much rather err on the side of effusive love and encouragement than withhold compliments for fear of being disingenuous or appealing to insecurity.
In talking with some friends, I have discovered that they at times withhold compliments or encouragement, because they think that the other person is insecure and in encouraging their insecure friends, they are in essence encouraging the insecurity. To this, I say, rubbish! If we are honest, there is insecurity in every single one of us. Left unchecked, this insecurity could result in sinful behaviors in our lives (false pride, overindulgence, lack of trust in Christ), but insecurity in itself is meant to drive us to the only place where true security can be found. The cross of Jesus Christ. As friends, it is not our job to judge another in their insecurities. We are not supposed to be the insecurity police! We are supposed to point others to Jesus.
Recently, I did some work on a prayer calendar and the words I was focusing on were words like “abundant”, “lavished”, “overflowing”, and “bountiful”. These are words that are found all over scripture in describing the kind of love God has for us and in his character.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! ~1 John 3:1
You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. ~Psalm 66:12
God does not withhold his love for us, but pours out his love on us.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
‘Tis an ocean vast of blessing, ’tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee! (Samuel Trevor Francis)
His love for us is deep and wide and when we express love towards others in the same way, we are living out the image of God in our lives. As followers of Christ, we should be generous in our love. This doesn’t mean we should be fake. We need to be genuine in our generosity, but if you find yourself in a place where you are withholding encouragement from others, I would challenge you to study the love of Christ.
Jesus was willing to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). He didn’t wait for us to be worthy of His love. I am so grateful for this!
My kids have a poster that says “Too many toys, never enough books!”. I think we should hang one that says, “Too much judgment, never enough encouragement!”.
“There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Be genuine, but be generous.