I knew the conversation was not going well when she crossed her arms and leaned back in the chair, but I was not prepared for how far off the rails the train was going to go. She asked questions trying to poke holes in my every word and I answered each one with as much honesty as the moment would allow.

How do you answer with stark honesty when the edge of the truth is enough to cut straight through to a heart? Why heap one more burning coal to the pile when one is enough?

We talked round and round until she decided that the truth I was telling her was really a lie from Satan; that the truth here was really just an opinion. That maybe I’d blown everything out of proportion and my way of doing things was just my preferred way. That maybe I’d even encouraged the group dysfunction by twisting the story to fit the narrative that I had made up in my mind. That she didn’t answer to me since we were only sisters in Christ and that was it.

I didn’t know it then, but that conversation was the beginning of the end of a ministry baby I’d labored three years to birth. I didn’t know that in six short weeks, Jesus would give me two choices. I could make my case and divisively stand my ground at all costs. Or I could agree to disagree, quietly hand over God’s baby, and graciously walk away.

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I cried for three weeks and lamented the fallout and then opened my hands and walked away.

The sacrifice cut deep and left a gaping wound in my heart. The wound was excruciating; the desire to be right was ever pulsing right alongside the desire to figure out how to love well despite the chasm of wrongs lined up between us.  

Because how does love grow wild and free among the twisted roots of two people who love Jesus and the Church differently? How does Love manifest Himself in the midst of strife and difference and strong emotions?

And how do we keep making space at the table for others when the weight of disagreement between us feels heavier than the truth that greater love has no one than this that one lay down her life  {rights, preferences, desires, selfish ambition, traditions, convictions, and very life} for her friends?

Ann Voskamp says that Love is not always agreement with someone, but it is always sacrifice for someone.

I know she’s right.

Love doesn’t demand a stance on an issue or solidarity with a particular group over another, or signing off on someone’s moral code of ethics. Love doesn’t require that we hold the same convictions as our neighbors. Love doesn’t ask for condonement of sin or a look the other way or a water-downed Gospel so as not to offend. Love doesn’t envy or boast or sit on a high horse or shoot scripture like a loaded gun or make a case against anyone, or build a defense. Love doesn’t hold up a standard and or a hoop to jump through or draw a line in the sand.

Love lies down as a sacrifice.

Love lies down insecurity and fear and relentlessly pursues relationship with those who just long to be loved.

Love lies down personal comfort because it sees a need and moves to meet it.

Love lies down being right and stands in the gap of misunderstanding.

Love lies down the argument and spends its energy righting wrong things.

Love lies down its theological degree and scriptural prowess and biblical battle plan in order to tell the humble story of redemption in its life.

Love lies down its pride in order to let the brokenness be the way to wholeness.

Love lies down the fight and agrees to disagree to preserve the unity of the body.

Love lies down the Us vs Them thinking and pulls up a chair at the table to hear the heart behind the spoken words and to see the image of God in the one speaking.

Love bears all things, even those things laced with confusion and shouldered with burdens and carried away with sin, because real love is near to the brokenhearted and near to the afflicted and near to the ones standing in the shadows.

In the midst of strife and turmoil, greater Love manifests Himself as one laying everything down for a friend.

 

happy-birthday

Giveaway

GraceTable is 2 years old this month and we’re celebrating with a few giveaways. Leave a comment below to enter to win a copy of Ann Voskamp’s brand new book, The Broken Way. (U.S. residents only, with apologies to our international friends.)

Lori Harris / Posts / Blog
Lori Harris is a Southern born, Texas-missing girl, who is rearing her six kids in a neighborhood some would call the ‘hood. She and her bi-vocational husband have planted Fellowship Bible Church Rocky Mount on the wrong side of the railroad tracks where poverty runs deep and racism even deeper. She coordinates a city-wide MOPS group, passes out PBJs to the neighborhood kids, and brews coffee just to make the house smell like Jesus. She writes at loriharris.me.
  • Susan
    http://www.susanmulder.com

    Thank you. I don’t have the good words to tell you why this reached deep into my heart, but it did so, thank you….❤️ (I don’t need to be entered in the giveaway-I have a copy already 😉)

    November 9th, 2016 8:05
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      I am so grateful, Susan. <3

      November 9th, 2016 8:17
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  • kim garbison

    This post is so wonderful and so needed. Today is ouchy for many and love is way important to make this work.

    November 9th, 2016 8:23
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  • Pam

    “Love doesn’t require that we hold the same convictions as our neighbors.”
    So true for me and my neighbors. I want to always model for my kids, to love in spite of. Great post! Thank you for an opportunity to win the book.

    November 9th, 2016 8:51
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      Hope you win! It’s a tearjerker for sure! <3

      November 9th, 2016 11:16
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  • Bethany Ramsey
    http://Bethany%20Ramsey

    What a fantastic word in light of these tumultuous times where love looks so very different than it should on all sides. Thank you for be labor you put into this post. It was a breath of fresh air.

    November 9th, 2016 9:10
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      Thanks Bethany. I needed to write it to be reminded of the truth.

      November 9th, 2016 11:16
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  • Lori
    http://waitingformymiracle.wordpress.com

    This is beautiful and ever so convicting is a precious way. He used your words to open my eyes & heart to something I didn’t realize I was doing. Thank you. ❤️

    November 9th, 2016 9:13
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    • Lori
      http://waitingformymiracle.com

      I already have the book, just saw the part about the give away. ☺️

      November 9th, 2016 11:13
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      I’m grateful, Lori. Writing it opened my eyes to things I had not considered six months ago.

      November 9th, 2016 11:17
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  • Nancy Wolfe
    http://livingcenter.me/

    It feels like often the opposite of love is pride. I’ve never had a conversation like that – perhaps I should have, but avoided it and the pain it would bring. So much good stuff here, Lori

    November 9th, 2016 9:17
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      Oh man, do I ever avoid these kinds of conversations, Nancy! They’re so hard to have and so painful to walk through, but they birth so much growth!

      November 9th, 2016 11:18
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  • Laura

    This is so appropriate for today as we wade in deep with others feelings and thoughts. Social media will no doubt be wrought with emotions and instead of being “right,” in whichever opinion we hold, we can be love.

    November 9th, 2016 9:23
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      You’re so right, Laura. The world is heavy, yet we have HOPE.

      November 9th, 2016 11:19
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  • Tracey

    Oh my. I am so sorry. I feel you, sister. And these words of yours apply to my past, some to my present and I pray they will continue to come to mind in my future. Because, man, do I like to be right. And comfortable. And agreed with.

    November 9th, 2016 9:45
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      Me too!!! We all do! Laying down is hard work, but it’s right work. Remind me of that later. wink wink.

      November 9th, 2016 11:21
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  • Becky J
    http://Becky%20J

    Oh yes, the pain feels so much deeper and the knife so much sharper when a brother/sister in Christ is the one wielding the weapon. How often I have to remind myself that my battle is not against flesh and blood. I wish I could say I always do this well, but hallelujah, there is grace!! Blessings friend!

    November 9th, 2016 9:53
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      YESSS for Grace. Ain’t it amazing?

      November 9th, 2016 11:22
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  • Katie

    “In the midst of strife and turmoil, greater Love manifests Himself as one laying everything down for a friend.”
    SO needed this today!
    Thank you, Lori:)
    Katie

    November 9th, 2016 10:04
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      me too, friend. I need a reminder everyday.

      November 9th, 2016 11:22
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  • Linda

    Oh, so so right
    “I cried for three weeks, lamented the fallout and then opened my hands and walked away ”
    I find myself at the beginning of this sentence……. and I have been stuck here for far too long, perhaps with your prayers, and Gods strength I can be brave enough to finish the sentence and find my peace in Him…….
    Thanks so much for this post

    November 9th, 2016 10:10
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      I will pray, Linda. Get to the end of the sentence and be free to love.

      November 9th, 2016 11:24
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  • Katie Seest

    Praying we have the heart and eyes of our Savior to reach out to our neighbors to share Him, regardless of how we are different. Each person is individually precious in His eyes. Truth, tempered with love and grace.

    November 9th, 2016 10:11
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      yep. tempered with grace and truth.

      November 9th, 2016 11:25
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  • Joy B. Rudolph
    http://Joybrudolph.com

    Thank you, Lori. As always your words are timely.

    November 9th, 2016 10:19
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      And your presence here is always a gift.

      November 9th, 2016 11:26
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  • Jen judd
    http://jen

    So. So. So. So good.

    November 9th, 2016 10:24
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  • Cyndy

    Beautifully written…saving to read again.

    November 9th, 2016 10:26
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  • Karen
    http://4onepurpose.com/

    Walking away is hard, but sometimes LOVE does just that! Thanks for sharing and helping give us courage. (I already have the book and don’t need to win so feel free to not include my name. IF I win, I will share it with someone…..)

    November 9th, 2016 10:30
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      yes it does, Karen. Isn’t the book beautiful?

      November 9th, 2016 11:28
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  • Addie

    Your posts always break me and make me re-think….

    November 9th, 2016 10:54
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  • Lana Smith

    Happy birthday GraceTable! So glad to follow along and grateful you share Lori’s words.

    It’s not easy but yes. Love lies down… ((love))

    November 9th, 2016 11:21
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    • Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me

      Yes it does. Glad you’re here, Lana. You’re a gift.

      November 9th, 2016 11:29
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  • peggy wright
    https://peggywright.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/come-to-the-table/

    Beautiful message to love no matter what, Lori. Thank you.
    I would relish receiving a copy of Ann Voskamp’s newest book. Glad for this opportunity.

    November 9th, 2016 11:33
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  • Angie Lievsay

    You have put words to my heart…thank you. I feel full and able to shoulder and share and offer some light today.

    November 9th, 2016 13:08
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  • Sherry

    Very convicting for me on so many levels! I just found this website and am anxious to explore it!
    Blessings

    November 9th, 2016 13:40
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  • Jasmine Ryan
    http://divineorchestration.com

    Hi Lori! This hit me right in the feels. I have been reading through 1 Corinthians this month, savoring each word, and this morning I was in chapter 13. You words today weave beautifully into the loom of Paul’s. I completely agree that “love lies down.” Jesus said there is no greater love than that, then ultimately lied down Himself. Why do we think God needs us constantly upright, weathering the blows and fighting back? The storm is much more still when we lie down. He will stand for us.

    November 9th, 2016 13:48
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  • Jennie

    Powerful message, yes love!

    November 9th, 2016 13:57
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  • Rebecca
    http://abundancehouse.blogspot.com/

    Yes. THIS is what my heart hasn’t given my mouth the words to speak out. Love is laying our lives down just as Jesus laid His down for ours. Thank you for walking through these hard seasons so we can be blessed in future ones. .

    November 9th, 2016 15:29
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  • Briana
    http://Briana

    This couldn’t be a more timely article. I’m sure it was a challenge to write let alone live. And God help us all to live it. I’d love to be entered for the give away.

    November 9th, 2016 15:33
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  • Melanie Wallace
    http://Melanie%20Wallace

    Thank you, Lori.

    November 9th, 2016 16:33
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  • Gina Weeks

    Yes… No other words can be formed in response at the moment.

    Thank you. 🙏

    November 9th, 2016 18:47
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  • Valerie Ellis

    Lori, I love the way you write and what you write about. Commenting for the opportunity to win the book. Thank you!

    November 9th, 2016 22:51
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  • Jenn
    http://choosingthismoment.com

    What a timely post. Thank you.

    November 10th, 2016 1:28
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  • Corena Hall

    His love, His Cross, my Savior rescued me. To love He said and I ask daily to obey. I will cling to that old rugged Cross on which He was nailed His blood spilled in that greatest act of love. How can I not obey?
    Thank you and would love Ann Voscamp latest book.

    November 10th, 2016 1:42
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  • Kelli

    Great post!

    November 11th, 2016 10:08
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  • beth lehman

    phew… maybe our biggest challenge. to love despite. to learn to love anyway.

    November 11th, 2016 14:02
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  • Traci@tracesoffaith
    http://www.tracesoffaith.com

    I am thinking through this love too. The love of Christ in all its simplicity and complexity. Your words here helped. Thank you.

    November 17th, 2016 10:13
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