Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Uncommon Woman: Chapter 5 Review

A healthy definition of love is crucial to understanding this week’s chapter.  Often when we think of love we think of it as physical and emotional.  The love that the Bible actually talks about isn’t a feeling at all.  Then what is it?  Biblical love is a commitment.  And love as a commitment isn’t dependent on good feelings, but a consistent and courageous decision to extend ourselves for the benefit of another person.  That gives this chapter a little different feel that what I was expecting.
What what does it mean when Susie says “Love Sees”
Certainly we have eyes and can see.  But the way love see is seeing others the way Jesus sees them. How many times have we all been guilty of not even trying to see people the way Jesus sees them.  Let’s just admit it – we’re all guilty of this because we’re not perfect people.  How many times have you passed by someone on the street and passed judgment without knowing what they are working through?  How many times have you casually dismissed the interests of another person just because it wasn’t something you cared about?  How many times have you dominated a conversation without a thought to the feelings of another?  How many times have you thought you're just a little better than someone else because at least your life isn’t like that?”  Let’s make it really close to home…how many times have you not really seen what the people living your home or at work are feeling and experiencing.  Sometimes it's those that are closest to us that get lost when it comes to our really seeing their needs.

Rather than beating ourselves up over lacking our “love seeing” is…let it lead me us to look for a better way to do things.

On the bottom of page 78, Susie writes:  “The common woman thinks nothing of casually dismissing another woman in her moments of weakness….As I have suffered from the pain that has both come at me and come from me, I’ve come to realize something very important.  Christ’s work in all of us is sacred…  The highs and lows of our journey mean something to God.  And when I casually step all over your holy ground as if it’s nothing but dirt and sand, I become blinded by my own ignorance.”
So, how do we love like Jesus loves?
1.  First we have see ourselves the way Jesus see us!
That means to really accept…really accept that Jesus sees us as His new creation.  When we commit to walk with Him and let him be the leader of our life…everything we’ve done in the past is gone.  Our life is new.  That means we don’t have to be defined by all the rocks and stones we’ve thrown in the past.  He’s come before us and with his big strong hands has knelt before us and washed our feet.  We are clean.
2. We begin accept people just like they are.
Well that sounds easy…but have you ever tried it?   Friends will hurt us, people at work will treat us unfairly.  What are we supposed to do with that? I'm embarrassed to admit how many times I have written off people because they are just too much work?  My old pastor used to refer to these people as EGR’s (Extra Grace Required).  How many times have you turned and walked the other way because you didn’t like the attitude of someone else?  Love sees even through the muck of our still, often “common” lives and brings us to a place of being “uncommon.”
Susie has this to say at the bottom of page 81:  “Instead of seeing ourselves (and others) as a sum of flaws and attributes, we must constantly look for and see before us beautiful creations, designed for a marvelous purpose.  Because that’s what we are.  That’s who we are.” You don’t have to feel it…just start believing it!  The feelings will come in time.
Love Covers
The story at the beginning of the chapter brings home a very understandable display of unconditional love. Susie's point is that even when we’re at our lowest, our family loves us anyway.  They’ll come to our aid and hold our hair as we’re bent over the “porcelain god,” they’ll hold a cold cloth to our forehead and love us despite our current condition.  We’ve all been there and we all know how much it means to feel protected in our most vulnerable moment.

There are always times in our lives where we aren’t “spiritually” together.  She called it “the spiritual flu.”  And what a relief it is to have someone there that can hold your head, speak those encouraging words and maybe give you a mint when it’s all over.
So let’s talk more about how Love Covers–
On page 84 Susie talks about how the only kind of love is a humble love.
What’s Humble Love?
Humble love isn't someone flying into your life with a cape to save the day.  Humble love is the kind that steps in at our fragile moments, walks us through circumstances and provides that shoulder to lean on when we don't have all the answers.  
It isn't a "weak" love because it still knows how to speak truth.  To cover someone with love doesn’t mean that you agree with everything that got them there.  Love doesn’t enable dysfunction. Quite the opposite.  To cover someone means that you care enough to provide insight and wisdom.  That’s the true measure of love covering.
That’s the kind of love I think Susie is talking about when she says to have a humble love!  There is an amazing sense of community and comfort that comes from a love such as this.  It brings together a bond that grows beyond the bounds of circumstances.
Consider this from page 89:  “Am I daily growing in my capacity to love the unlovely?”  “Am I speaking words of power, life and healing to the people around me?”
Here are some questions to take with you this week:
  • Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-16 and consider three things:
  1. Who did He die for?
  2. Who are we supposed to live for?
  3. How are we supposed to view others?
  • Read Proverbs 28:13 – Sometimes it’s so tempting to be transparent with someone else’s life rather than our own.  It’s easier to point at someone else’s “junk” than it is to point at our own.  Write your thoughts on this verse and the ways we tend to mishandle information.
Here is Susie's prayer...
Precious Lord,
I’m amazed by You.  My righteousness amounts to a pile of filthy rags, and yet when You look at me, I’m wearing a royal robe.  I need You every day and I have You every moment.  Please, Lord, give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to do Your will.  Grant me a willingness to love the unlovable.  Help me remember that pride goes before a fall and humility precedes honor.  Grant me the capacity to cover those who are walking through a vulnerable time.  may there be such integrity in my words that anyone and everyone will feel safe in my presence; just as I feel safe in Yours.  What a treasure You are to me, Lord.  Lead me on.  Amen”

Feel free to leave comments about this chapter.  If you’d like to join this study in real time, join us on August 7th, 2012.

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