Points to Ponder: Love Will Watch Them Walk Away

Points to Ponder
Love Will Watch Them Walk Away

Have you ever had to tell someone something they did not want to hear? In point of fact, it was not your opinion, it was the truth. Some people will tell you they want you to be honest with them, to "tell it to me straight." But in reality, they did not want to know. Within certain boundaries, safety zones of sorts, some people will listen to the suggestions and even a rebuke directed at them. But if the truth be told presses beyond those self-imposed boundaries, that one may throw up the defenses. Or, as one enthusiastic would-be follower of Jesus did, they may walk away.
He ran up and knelt before Jesus, asking what he had to do to inherit eternal life (Mark 10:17). Jesus recited six of the Ten Commandments. The man replied that he'd kept them since his youth. Then Jesus answered his question, knowing that the truth would repel him.
"Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, 'One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me'" (Mark 10:21).
Grab hold of that image. Jesus looked at him and loved him. And that truth spoken in love drove the man away. The man was "sad at this word and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions" (v. 22). Where are all those great possessions now? And where is the man?
In retrospect, we can see the obvious truth that Jesus told; He answered the man's question. Truth is uncomfortable to hear. Sometimes it will offend.
Did you notice that Jesus only recited six of the Ten Commandments - didn't even mention the over 600 other laws and statutes. It would not have mattered how many rules and laws the man kept from his youth. Jesus' answer began with; "One thing you lack..." No matter how good he was trying to be, the one thing he lacked was the most important thing he needed. Truth reveals such things. Is that why people despise it?
What sorrow must pierce Jesus' heart as He looks at someone and loves him, knowing that the person will not receive His word; will not let go of the one thing that's keeping out the life of joy and peace which is in Him.
You look at her (or him) and you love that person. You want what is good and right for them; but the cost of loving is sometimes to be misunderstood. How many parents are rejected by their kids because they stood firm on a matter. "You don't trust me." "You hate me." "You don't understand," they cry. You look at them and love them and then watch them walk off in a huff.
So it can be with friends, or brothers and sisters in Christ. It's hard to watch that misguided one walk off. But does that mean you should do anything else now? Did you notice that Jesus did not pursue that man?
Do you ever struggle with how to love a person? You look at that one in love, knowing that if you confront them with the truth, they'll reject it. They may reject you. Love compels you to want to do something, but you know that love is not what they will perceive at all. Jesus looked at that man who had it all yet lacked so much more. He loved him, told him what he needed to know, and then watched him walk away.
Is it loving to let them walk away? Jesus did. Who loves anyone more than He does? The man walked and Jesus did not chase him, did not offer to negotiate. It is what it is. And love lets the object of its heart walk away.
Maybe when Jesus hung on the cross, the man returned. We don't know.
"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself" (John 12:32).
What more can love do? Some will still walk away.

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 2:10am and 10:45am both days. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.