It’s funny how we are usually all-or-nothing people in our culture.
We want all of the package of Oreos, or a full row. At the very least, we want a whole cookie. Can you imagine if someone passed us half a cookie? Worse – what if they passed us only one layer of the cookie, after licking off the good stuff for themselves. We might just lose our double stuff.
Likewise, at any given moment, you can open my freezer to find a pint of dairy-free ice cream (lame, I know) with “Mom’s ice cream” written in vivid permanent ink on the lid. Because rarely, if ever, do I get all of something. A crumb of something delicious is gone in a flash at our house, so if you want to savor something, you label it. Nothing gets my goat more than opening the container to find one spoonful left. You know the feeling.
This same feeling is what we find when we dig into the origins of the word all found in love believes all things. All in its original form in ancient Greek is connected to every part that applies. It doesn’t seek to pull in that which is unconnected, reaching too far to make assumptions and illogical arguments, but it also doesn’t pick and choose pieces it likes, while leaving other parts behind.
Half-hearted love doesn’t really feel like love, does it?
Half-loyalty doesn’t feel like love? Half-interest, half-truth, half-care all may leave you feeling worse than you felt before you thought you held love in your hand. To be deserted, when you thought you were finally friended is almost worse than never beginning the relationship in the first place.
So, we don’t. We stay in our little crags and caves and avoid reaching into someone else’s life. We avoid the invitation, we avoid the phone call, we avoid the affection, because rejection is too painful, unrequited energy and affection too disappointing.
All is the language of Jesus, not men.
Jesus is all and through all in wild ways we can’t understand. He created all, Scripture tells us. He is actually all, and He also saves all. He watches over all. He soaks up all our tears. He reconciles all the pain and heartache of life. He is all joy and laughter, and joy and laughter without Him is kind of like being passed a single layer of the Oreo. It’s good, but it’s not good in the way all of it is good.
Jesus loves all around you in the most brave way. He loves every single face, every single cell, every single molecule in you and the person standing next to you. He doesn’t select pieces of us to love, even when we are really, really hard to like. He died for all, not for a quarter, or half, or two-thirds of humanity. And He takes all our rejection, our scorn, and our unbelief every time, carrying it to the cross, burying it with Himself, and rising again, which makes loving again possible, makes inviting again possible.
The problem is, we want all the love, without all of Jesus. We want to pick and choose what we like about Him, about faith, about life and invitation and friendship and loving brave. We can’t love resurrection without crucifixion. We can’t love morning without night. We can’t love compassion without justice. We have to take all of Him, or we will continuously be eating half an Oreo and wondering why people think they’re so amazing.
Love believes all things means we believe all of Jesus or none of Jesus. Love believes all things means making peace with the rejection that comes with invitation, so we can invite, and invite again, because we believe all the invitations are worth it, all the invitations are heard, even when they are set aside, put down, or forgotten.
You are invited.
You are invited to all of Jesus.
Without that, if I’m honest, I don’t think it’s possible to love brave. With Him, in believing all of Him, just as He believes all of me is worthwhile, I can love brave.
That, my friends, is better than all the Oreos in all the world.
Heidi’s post has me thinking of a scene in Rounders where John Malkovich is playing Matt Damon in a game of no-limit, high-stakes poker. John Malkovich is finishing off an Oreo as finishes off Matt Damon. In fact, there are a lot of scenes with Oreos. This is an old movie, I’m not dropping spoiler alerts. Damon goes all in, sacrifices everything and loses it all. He put everything he had on the wrong thing. Any time we do this in our lives, go all in, on someone or something other than Jesus. But I do this all the time, you might too. We put our hopes and dreams on things other than Jesus. And what happens? John Malkovich narrates it for us in the movie (language on this clip), “It hurts doesn't it? Your hopes dashed, your dreams down the toilet. And your fate is sitting right besides you.” And yet, like what happens in the movie, there is a great reversal! What was is expected is not the outcome. Love believes all things, especially all of Jesus for all of me and you.