Once there was a girl who had been hurt by one, two, a lot of people. She tried to grow a shell thick as a turtle’s to keep out the hurt, but the hurt lived with her inside the shell.
The hurt mocked and taunted her and she searched for ways to drown it out. She tried drugs, alcohol, sex, food, and even hurting herself, but nothing worked.
People prayed that she would know Jesus and they prayed that she wouldn’t be so mean, but no one prayed that she would be able receive love. That would mean giving love first even while the hurt filled up her shell and spilled out on them. No one wanted to give her love because she couldn’t give love back.
She was afraid to receive love because so many had let her down. She was afraid to trust Jesus because so many preached fire, brimstone, repentance but forgot to preach love. They forgot that Jesus is love and so she never saw his love and never opened herself to it.
Then Jesus spoke into one heart that they should pray for the turtle girl to be able to receive love. That’s what Jesus does; He calls us to give love first. Jesus calls us to love those who live in turtle shells. He calls us to love them until their shells crack open so that the hurt runs out on the ground and dries up in the light of the Son.
It is only when we have done this that the turtle can learn to receive love and be changed by that love.
This post has been inspired by the book Blue Like Jazz written by Don Miller. Don writes of praying that people are able to receive love. This thought really niggled its way into my brain and made me think about giving and receiving love. I think what Don was trying to get across in this book is that faith is rarely lived out in perfect churches with just the right worship, or perfect little Bible study groups. Rather faith is lived out in the nitty gritty daily life. It’s easy to love Christians because they understand and know how to receive love. It’s the rest of the world that needs to be loved until they can receive the love of Jesus.