Even Though

Even Though
Romans 5:6-9
Robert Z. Perry
As we follow Christ to the cross this Lenten season, it is important to remember Jesus did not die for those perfected in their piety; those with no need for the blood of an atoning sacrifice (Romans 5:6). The entire population of those who perfectly kept the law died all at once, in the space between two thieves. (Hebrews 4:15) Not for himself but for the rest of us; the sinful, the ailing, the weak. God commended his love to a people who did not reciprocate that love or follow his rules (Romans 5:8).

Story Time! I have a good friend named Ronnie. When Ronnie says goodbye to someone or ends a telephone conversation, he concludes with the words "I love you." When he first said it to me, I didn't know him too well, but there were a few things we had in common. We were both Black men in America, we both enjoyed photography & video, and we both came up in church.

However, we also had some differences. For instance, he came up Baptist and I came up COGIC. He loved Canon cameras, and though I marveled at Canon's dual pixel autofocus, I preferred Panasonic for their superior video capabilities. Another key difference is the fact that Ronnie is a self-described Pansexual man (attracted to individuals regardless of their gender) and a member of the LGBTQ+ community; I am neither. So, I was a little uncomfortable. I am not accustomed to casually saying "I love you" to men I am not related to and even to this day, have never said it back.

And no, I'm not too "macho" to tell my friends I love them. There is, however, a bit of unspoken protocol. Don't quote me on this, but I'm sure somewhere in the lore of “Man Law” and “Bro Code”, there is a rule that states "Thou shalt not proclaim to thy brethren "I love you" without ending the proclamation with "bro" or "man" etc. (e.g., "Alright, I'm gone. Love you, Bro.”) While adhering to such a seemingly arbitrary precept may sound a bit silly, it rings true (consciously and/or subconsciously) for most heterosexual men, especially millennials and older. I fall in this group.

I took issue with his sentiment, as stated, for a few reasons. Honestly, at first, because I didn't know him very well and I was uncertain if there was any confusion or misdirected motives. I had let him know that it was uncomfortable for me and asked him to "put a 'bro' on that", but Ronnie kept on Ronnie-ing. Over time, I got to know him and realized that's just how he is. But on some level, I still harbored resentment at the fact he didn't honor my request and I responded by ignoring the sentiment altogether. At some point, it didn't matter much. Ronnie and I developed a brotherhood, and this became less of an issue and more of this awkward moment when we say goodbye.

I would love for this to be a story about how I was able to accept Ronnie's "I love you" EVEN THOUGH it was not packaged the way I preferred. However, I think this story is really about Ronnie's ability to love everyone with his whole heart and reflect the love of God, EVEN THOUGH some people (me) rejected it. And yes, Ronnie, still put a "bro" on that, but thanks for being a brother and friend. Love you, man.

Jesus has issued a commandment to us, by which the world may know we are his disciples (John 13:34-35). Jesus loves us and wants us to spend eternity with him (John 14:3), even though this world rejected God and was too weak to reach the requirement of righteousness on our own (Romans 5:8). This is why Jesus came, to provide a way to separate our souls from our sins and our failures from our forever (John 3:16), accessed by faith in him as our Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9).

Prayer: Hello, Father. I Pray that this day in eternity brings you joy. That you find pleasure in your creation and the progress of your divine plan. I thank you for your ever-present protection and provision for your children. I pray that you strengthen us with the courage and clarity to let the love that you have poured into us, through the Holy Spirit, flow freely as we strive to be a reflection of you, in Jesus' name I pray. Amen and Asé.
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4 Comments


Ronnie Carter - April 5th, 2022 at 8:02am

Bro the kindness.. Thank you!!! Everyone deserves to hear, feel and know God loves them through you by your actions ,words and deeds! Thank you for helping me not give up. I love you Bro

1john3:11, John 15:12

Starla Douglas - April 5th, 2022 at 8:16am

This was awesome way to describe how God and his love is.

Christopher Jones Christopher - April 5th, 2022 at 11:38am

Amen

Mama - April 8th, 2022 at 9:41pm

Do you mind if I repost this without names. Iam sure someone else struggles with a issue like this. I feel it may help mant.