Monday, March 28, 2011

Living Loved: The 747 Principle

This morning I read the account of the woman who crashed a Pharisee's dinner party, washing Jesus' feet with her tears and drying them with her hair (Luke 7:36-47). She went on to kiss Jesus' feet repeatedly, pouring oil on them that she had brought with her.

Keep in mind two things here:
1.) People's feet in Bible times were filthy from all that walking (sometimes in sandals, sometimes bare-foot).
2.) This woman was a sinner, and everyone in town knew it (Luke 7:37).
Jesus reads the mind of the pious host and tells a story of two people being forgiven by a moneylender, one of great debt and the other of a smaller debt. Of course, the one who owed more debt had a greater appreciation and love for the creditor than the one who owed little. Jesus was trying to make a point to the Pharisee: this lady knows of her sins, knows she is forgiven, and it shows. On the other hand, you, Mr. Pharisee, don't think you have anything to be forgiven of--so you don't show much love or kindness. Makes sense, doesn't it?
Max Lucado, in his book Cast of Characters, expands on this "sensible" concept. He calls it the 747 Principle. Like a 747 jumbo jet, the truth that Jesus points out in Luke 7:47 lifts you to another level. (At least, it lifts ME to one!) For no matter how hard we try to get there on our own--to love somebody who may not always be lovable, to get along with disagreeable co-workers or neighbors, etc.--we cannot show love if we ourselves have not first received it. And the only One who gives perfect love, at all times and unconditionally, is God.

I have been struggling with Mom Guilt a lot. Moms, as a lot of us know, are experts at feeling guilty. We agonize over leaving our children in daycare, or for staying home and not stimulating them enough or providing them an example of a traditional 9-to-5 work ethic. We feel guilty about doing housework instead of playing with our children. We feel guilty when we play with the kids instead of doing the housework. The Guilt Wheel keeps on rolling.

Me, I ride the Guilt Wheel on almost a daily basis. Am I providing wholesome meals? When they don't eat the healthy stuff, do I sacrifice their health just to get something in their bellies? Should I be reading to the kids more? They watch too much TV. Why don't the children want to help me with daily chores? Should I be making chores more "fun"? Why can't they see that I have more time to play with them if they help me with the daily grind? Am I complaining too much about the daily grind? Do they know how much I truly love being their mom and a homemaker? Do they know I have a brain and capabilities beyond cooking and cleaning? Am I painting a bad picture of motherhood? And on and on we roll.

The biggest guilt that I feel as a parent, right now anyway, is the inability to show them unconditional love. I love each and every one of my kids, and that will never change, no matter what they do. But I certainly don't always SHOW that love. There is usually one kid in the bunch, it seems, who is doing something (intentionally or not) to make my life downright miserable. Whether it's leaving their coats, backpacks and shoes all over the floor in three different rooms...or whining about the injustice of what's for dinner, who's on the computer, or how I'm treating a sibling better than him/ never ends. Someone is usually unhappy about something. And that's when my heart sinks into my stomach and I don't feel like loving anybody.

I have prayed to God about this feeling. I have asked him to give me the unconditional love that He has for us. I have wondered "What is wrong with me?" because aren't we, as parents, supposed to feel a strong love for our children at all times? You know what, the only thing I feel strongly about at these times is a strong need to lock myself in the bathroom and shrink away from it all!!

Now I know why my mom would just get in the car and drive away sometimes. Survival (of her sanity or our lives. Take your pick!).

It hit me between the eyes today. The 747 Principle. Sure, I have a knowledge and thirst for the things of God, but do I always fully receive His love? I don't think so. I think I get so busy with planning events, studying, reading about God and not always living WITH Him on a moment-by-moment basis. If I truly felt His love and forgiveness--for all that I have done and will do in the future which is not to His liking--then I wouldn't be struggling with this inability to show love to my kids. I need to be lifted to the next level, to feel His love and forgiveness, so that I can extend that same love and forgiveness to my kids.

The 747 needs a lift. We need to be fueled up with God's love (which includes his mercy and forgiveness). John wrote, "We love, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19). Notice he didn't say "We love first, then God loves us." God does the loving & fueling first. When we live loved, then we are flying that 747.

How can I expect my kids to be loving toward one another and me, if I don't practice that same principle of fueling up and sharing the lift? Paul wrote, "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as God loved us." (Ephesians 5:1-2). Paul knew that the 747 Principle starts with God, then is shared by His imitators.

If there are two things I want my kids to remember, it would be:
1.) I love you very, very, very, very much.
2.) We can't do anything without God. Cling to Him! Share Him with others!!

If my kids know that, then I can ditch the Guilt Wheel and ride the 747!

God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love--not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. --1 John 4:9-10 NLT


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful blog! I agree with you wholeheartedly! Thank you!

June 17, 2017 at 5:32 AM  

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