Three Little Words

 Have any of you heard the song by Stevie Wonder, "I just called to say I love you"? Pretty popular song, with lots of meaning. Think about those words. I love you. Now, how many different ways can you say that? In German it is "Ich liebe dich." In Italian it is "Ti volio bene." Now I know some of you have learned other languages….what other language can you say, I love you?
   How about sign language? That's pretty easy isn't it? Well, it is very easy to say, or sign, but hard to show it. Jesus made that point to Peter. After Jesus was raised from the dead, He appeared with His Disciples. Once, after they came in from fishing, Jesus talked to Peter. It went like this:
   "Do you love me?", Jesus said. Peter replied, "Yes. You know that I do." To which Jesus then said, "Feed my sheep."
   Guess what? Jesus then asked again, "Do you love me?" And Peter replied, "Yes Lord, You know that I love You." To which Jesus then said, "Feed my sheep."
   And a 3rd time Jesus said, , "Do you love me?" And Peter, who had become grieved because Jesus asked this again replied, "You know all things, You know that I love You." To which Jesus then said, "Feed my sheep."
   So why did Jesus ask this three times? Because, He wanted Peter to understand….and eventually for you and I to understand…you can't just "say" I love you. You have to show it. You have to show the world you are full of love. Sometimes, things that are done in love make us happy like when you get a card or help doing something. Sometimes they make us sad, or trouble us because out of love we are shown we are wrong about something. But it's still love. It's not spiteful, it's not haughty, it's not vengeful, and it's not brash or rude.
   So that brings me to this. We know how we feel when we have love, right? Warm, fuzzy inside, and happy even on a rainy day. Well, have you ever been depressed? I think everybody hits that once in a while, but to be diagnosed with depression is a completely different thing. People change completely and there are lots of reasons that they get in to this state. I have seen people who are in states of depression. How about when you've been made fun of? Ever been made to look like a clown in front of all the class or a group of people? Maybe told you were worthless? Not the same feeling as love is it? Now I want you to think about the shooting a Virginia Tech that just happened. We feel sadness and remorse for all 33 people that got killed, right? You sure? One of those 33 is the killer. Do you feel sorry for him?
     That's my next point….I feel very sorry for him. People look back at his life and show just how much he was made fun of, just how much he was ridiculed. He got bullied, and then became the ultimate bully. Why? Most likely due to how he was treated, but society won't take any blame for it. People say he should have sucked it up and carried on, but it's not that easy, and everybody handles it differently. Is it an excuse? No, it certainly is not, he still should not have done it. Is it a reason? Well, yes, it is a reason it could have happened.
   Now here is my concern. How many Christians came in contact with him that could have shown him love? "He's not a Christian!', you might say. We don't know that, but even though the example above talks of showing love to those of the flock, the Great Commission tells us to show love unconditionally. So I wonder, how many Christians made fun of, hit, spit, or laughed at this young man? I wonder what difference could have been made if he had been shown love instead? We'll never know.
   One thing we do know, is that it could happen again, or it could be the person just hurts themself, or even just writes off God because they see Christians persecuting them. It happens. I hope in your life, you will reflect upon this. The words you speak and your actions towards people, are two things you can ask forgiveness for, but you can't ever take back the damage. You never know just how bad you might make it on someone. I am sure those who teased this man never did. Love's ability to change the world through Jesus Christ is unimaginable, as long as it is not chained up.

In His Grace,

   Mike Harris



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