Love one another. by Kristen Fritz
While attending college and now being involved in college ministry, I have been blessed to be treated almost like royalty by my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have been surrounded by men and women who would liter- ally go to the ends of the earth to help me in any way possible. Writing this very article has given me a chance to reflect on the precious friend- ships the Lord has blessed me with over the last six years, and only one phrase can accurately de- scribe the effect it has had on me: It is humbling.
In the summer of 2010, my dad had a massive heart attack at Bethany Bible Camp in Bemidji, Minn. Much of the camp staff were emergency medical technicians, registered nurses, or CPR certified. Everyone acted fast and began the life-saving process of CPR and using an AED machine. It was definitely the scariest moment of my life.
A few hours after the initial attack, we were assured that he was going to survive. However, the emotional and mental stress during those first few critical moments just after the attack and the days and weeks to follow was almost unbearable. The friends I made at AFLBS and the friends I am in ministry with in Fargo, N.D., were quick to reach out to not only me but to my family, as well. The gifts, visits, phone calls, and prayers were abundant. Knowing that I had people “in my corner” made the healing process much easier. I attribute much of my dad’s quick recovery to the people who treated us well and helped us with every fiber of their being. My dad has fully recovered from his heart attack. He leads an exceedingly healthy lifestyle that puts most people his age to shame. Praise the Lord!
A smaller, more everyday example of true friendship in my life comes from my account- ability partnership with a girl I met while I was involved with Campus Crusade for Christ at North Dakota State University. Not only was she understanding and willing to listen to my struggles, trials, and tribulations, but she was quick to celebrate the victories in my life, as well. To have someone intentionally come alongside you and encourage you to be the person our Creator God has designed us to be is nothing short of priceless. I have seen great improvement in areas of my life that have been lifelong struggles for me. Why? I have found that answering that question is not as easy as it seems.
I mulled over the details of these stories and tried to find the answer to that question. Why do these men and women treat me so well? Why do they take time out of their lives to help me in my greatest need? Why do I have their friendships? Is it out of obligation or duty? I don’t think this is the case. I don’t believe that someone can freely and humbly give of themselves out of obligation.
After seeking the Lord for wisdom to discern what it was that I was missing, the answer suddenly came out of nowhere, and I felt a little bit foolish for not recognizing it. The answer I had been looking for was love. And almost as suddenly, I John 4:7-8 came to mind, “Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God, and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that does not love does not know God for God is love.”
Wow! How could I have missed that? It seems so founda- tional, does it not? After all, love is the underlying theme of our very salvation. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” writes the disciple John (3:16). So why wouldn’t love be the underlying theme throughout the rest of our lives?
In I John 4:19-21 we are told, “We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
Yes! It was like God had opened up a fire hydrant of under- standing in my heart. It made so much sense. But then I started to question my own application of this love I had so recently discovered. Then I wasn’t so jubilant. The list I could make of various people in my life showing me love was never ending, but the list I tried to make of me reciprocating that love was very small. However, yet again, God brought His Word to my mind, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Since then it has been my prayer that God would give me opportunities to love others the way they have loved me, and that He would show me how to go about doing it. I know that it is only through the Holy Spirit that I am able to do anything, so my daily prayer is to be Spirit-filled and love others well. I can say I know what love is and it truly is humbling. My brothers and sisters, have you experienced this love? Have you shown it in return? I encourage you to make it your prayer to treat your friends with 1 John 4:7-8 in mind. Also, pray for me, that I might be a blessing to others, as well.
Fritz, a 2007 AFLBS graduate, is currently interning with Campus Crusade for Christ in Fargo, N,D., and Moorhead, Minn.
p. 5 THE LUTHERAN AMBASSADOR – May 2011