Jesus will always do it for love
Upon a small chair pulled close to his first grade desk, a young boy sat with tears in his eyes, staring at the book before him. And as the children outside laughed and played, he sat alone, unpacking a gift his teacher had given him in front of the other children. A well-seasoned teacher, she had allowed herself to become frustrated with what she saw as his lack of effort. So right before recess she gave him his present, rather than going out to play with his friends he would sit at is desk alone, not speaking until he read her a three-word sentence “See Tip run.”
It’s not that he didn’t want to read it… as much as he stared at it… he couldn’t. Those shapes and lines meant nothing to him, just letters on a page. And nothing she now threatened would change that! So, sitting in sorrow, unable to satisfy her, feeling less of himself, he put on the gift his teacher gave him, “Shame.” While time went on that shame became a chain of guilt he wore around his neck. No one saw it, but his mother knew it was there. And his mother’s love was not held back. She poured herself into him night after night at the kitchen table. Tears flowed, frustrations manifested, his anger boiled at himself, as his guilt over his lack of comprehension took hold.
One night in the midst of the battle to read, his mother cried, “Please help me Jesus, I don’t know what else to do!” In her moment of confession and surrender, while she was focused not on the problem, but on Jesus, like a calming breeze the Lord stepped in. To the boy it was if a light from another room washed now through the door of his mind illuminating the page before him. Looking up to his mother he said, “See… Tip… run.” She held her breath, for he had repeated that line before. Yet without slowing down he read aloud the next, “Run Tip run.” A weight lifted, tears not of shame but of joy poured forth. She held her son close, relishing the victory while praising Jesus.
I thought of this time in my life while visiting with a couple of friends at breakfast the other morning at a local cafe. Our discussion was about overcoming the obstacles from within, that we each face in our Christian walk. It was the general consensus that shame and guilt are major traps that will cloud our comprehension of the joy of victory we are called to receive. Shaming is a tool used to control and manipulate, regardless of the intent. Guilt like a chain weights us down, creating feelings of unworthiness and isolation. When a person is fixated on these things, forward progress in life seems impossible.
Walking from the restaurant that morning a song from my youth was playing on the radio. I stopped, taking it in for a moment. Then repeating the words softly to myself I thought of my mother. It was Bobby Caldwell’s 1978 song, “What you won’t do for love.” And the phrase that hooked me was “What you won’t do, do for love; You’ve tried everything, but you won’t give up; In my world, only you make me do for love what I would not do.”
For the rest of the day that song caused me to reflect on not only what I am willing to do for love, but what others have done for me because of love. My mother’s love pushed through my shame and guilt, bringing me to the One who loved her. Knowing she couldn’t help me understand, she had faith that Jesus would. In a twist of what some may call worldly irony, that is really beyond my understanding the little boy who couldn’t comprehend a word, whose teacher felt he would never read, whose guilt and shame isolated him, is now, writing, telling others of Jesus love.
So, what is my message to you? It is this: That regardless of where you are in life, regardless of whatever caused or whoever created your shame, there is a way forward. Guilt that weights you down, like heavy chain around your neck can be loosed. Jesus is recorded in Scripture as saying that we are slaves to our sin. Because by our natural birth, we have become bound to it. Yet, because He is the Son of God he can loosen our chains, causing us to be spiritually born, opening our hearts and minds to His peace and comfort, removing our guilt, dissolving our shame, replacing it with purpose. He opens our minds to comprehending His word, allowing us to learn of His mercies. The greatest one being Calvary’s Cross. That’s what Jesus was willing to do for Love.