The Cost & the Life

This week’s pulse comes from Becky Luoh, Convergence Women’s Ministry Leader and Greek IV Director at Cal:

As a church we’ve begun this journey of studying the book of Romans. I’ve been looking forward to this as this particular book of the Bible is a meaty one– a delicious meat that’s even better shared with a group of people. The last two weeks of hearing sermons on Sunday and then talking with my life group about the same passages has felt a lot like a satisfying meal: special meals, one where you laugh and share stories but also manage to learn something and have newfound appreciation for something that wasn’t previously there before. Upon further reflection, this may be how my dad got me to appreciate red wine…

This week in particular, I was struck by our life group’s discussion around Paul’s fervor and passion for the Good News of Jesus Christ, and how that produces a deep love and sense of obligation for his fellow man. It got me thinking: does my own faith in the Gospel produce a kind of love for others that cannot be contained?

I think one of the hardest things is admitting that I don’t like to love on anyone’s terms but my own. It’s far easier to choose my friends, to show someone I care when I feel like it, to be in control. When I love on my own terms, I can protect myself from hurt and there’s no messiness involved.

But Paul is willing to get into the mess. He embodies the Good News he’s sharing by living his life for the sake of others– he loves on God’s terms instead of his own. His love comes from truly understanding Jesus’ faithfulness on the cross. His letter to the Roman church helps me realize that it’s in both the joy of relationship and all the mess and brokenness that comes with it that Jesus’ resurrection power comes to life, and in that we experience the depth and width of His love over ours.

Perhaps that’s why studying Scripture with life group and church community has been so rich as of late. Over the past few years of committing to this group of friends, we’ve seen a lot together (marriages, new & lost jobs, scary moments of unknown, growing families, disagreements, discernment about calling, and all the little things in between). Though it’s been incredibly uncomfortable at times: feeling like the only extravert in a room of introverts, or just thinking that our differences in communication, lifestyle, and values just won’t mesh, even entertaining thoughts about leaving for an “easier” church where it just won’t be so “hard”, or just plain not liking someone– this life group and church has been one of the deepest places of growth and maturity for me. By staying in the messiness, I’ve grown to appreciate and love beyond myself, beyond my limited selfish terms. A sense of obligation to my church family and the larger community has grown by the power of Jesus, because I couldn’t do it on my own terms. In a place of fear and death of being hurt and being uncomfortable, I’ve tasted how resurrection power brings life to a place we so easily give up on. It is in the lives of those around us– not just those we choose, but even those that God chooses for us– that the Good News comes to life.