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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Love or Like?

Today’s post is a little jumbled. By that, I mean I’m not quite sure where it’s going, even as I write it.

This past Sunday, I was in a parking lot walking into Wal-Mart and I don’t even recall what was going through my head, but I remember that it was in between church services.

I felt a question come to me and I’m not sure what it means or what to do with it, so I present it to you.

What I heard was: “I know you love Jesus, but do you like him?”

Normally, I would assume that like comes before love, but this is how I heard the question.

I let it rattle around in my noggin for a while and I’m not quite sure if I’ve figured out what it meant yet.

For some reason, what I thought about was my cousin Colton, probably because I had spent some time with him over the weekend.

He’s 16 and I’m 32, so I’ve known him his whole life. Up until recently, I never really saw him outside of family gatherings and holidays. There was no real relationship there. I suppose there are reasons—he lives in the Coarsegold area, for years I didn’t have a car, and I was always at work or school, but I loved him because he’s my cousin even though we hadn’t spent more than a few hours at a time together.

Each time I did see him he seemed to have grown up so fast. It seems like in a matter of only days, he went from a little kid who once locked my hat in the bathroom at our grandmother’s house (it had two doors and he locked both), to a teenager that was as tall as I was (which isn’t saying much).

As I began to become keen on Jesus and attending Celebration Church, I had a feeling that he would like it. I remember pitching him the idea once at Christmas or Easter or some other holiday you’re obligated to see family. He politely declined.

Last year, God began to put him on my heart. I don’t know why. I guess I just began to realize that I had let so many years go by without making an effort to develop a relationship with him. He’s the only true cousin I have on my mom’s side of the family and he’s a boy guy, so it had made no sense why we didn’t hang out or anything. Frankly, I assumed he wouldn’t want to. Why would a teenager want to hang out with me?

I sent him a text inviting him to our Easter production and his response was something to the effect of “Uh…no thanks,” so I backed off.

 As our church moved into its new building in Clovis, we were all given the opportunity to write names on the stage of people we for whom we were believing to be saved. His name was at the top of my list.

Then something interesting happened. I started to notice on his Facebook that he was going to some youth group. Then I noticed him posting about God.

Over the course of the next several months, I made a more conscious effort to see him outside of holidays: went to see his band play, went to the movies and Christmas Tree Lane with him and my sister, went to see the band again, and went to see his school play. During Christmas he even stayed at my place for two nights.

Somewhat of a side story: In January, I read on his Facebook that he was going to get baptized. Not only did he get baptized, but it was in a creek just outside of Oakhurst—at night.  In the middle of January. That’s dedication. He had awesome friends in his life that helped him develop a relationship with God. Check out the video.

Anyway, I sent him a message back in April or so to see if he wanted to hang out and to my surprise, he said yes. We went to Celebration for service on a Sunday and to lunch…and I forget what else.

After that, we started to spend more time together. I started to visit his church in Oakhurst on a regular basis and he started to visit Celebration.

We hung out together more and actually developed a relationship (almost every weekend it seems).

I realized that not only did I love him because he was my cousin, I also like him.

I think our view on Jesus can sometimes be this:

We love Him because of who He is, but we don’t necessarily have a relationship with Him. Much like some of our family, we love Him because we have to.

We love Him, but we don’t quite like Him.

It wasn’t until I spent time with Colton that I realized I liked him.

It wasn’t until I talked to Colton that I realized I liked him.

It wasn’t until I began to know who Colton was that I realized I liked him.

It wasn’t until I made an effort to build a relationship with Colton that I realized I liked him

So, I repeat the original question: “I know you love Jesus, but do you like Him?”

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