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Do You Really Love Me?

Relationships that have meaning are not as easy to develop as they once were.  We are more superficial, “arm’s-length cautious,and not as trusting as we once were. There is also the entry of a new generation that are now adults.   For a generation that was told from their earliest childhood how special, how loved, how precious, and how wonderful they were, it is increasingly hard for them to find another person in their generation that has truly selfless love to give as a “self-centered” individual to another “self-centered”person.

As a result, shallow ties bind people together.  The bond lasts until one or the other is offended by not thinking of them as “special,precious, and wonderful”!   It doesn’t take long surfing on FB to see those that daily have the emphasis on “SELF” in each picture or an exciting place, activity, or with the “crowd at a concert, ballgame, or major event”.   The “SELF”image is promoted  to let us know what a great life they are living unlike the rest of us that can only envy that level of success and excitement.

In that kind of narcissistic existence, there is not much room for true, honest, engaging, and sometimes “corrective” friends. That kind of individual wants fans not friends.  A friend loves at all times.  A friend is truly concerned for those in their family and circle of associates.  A friend hurts with you, laughs with you, and when you need it, they love you enough to tell you the truth that you need to hear even when it is painful.  Jesus said, “Greater love has no man than He lay down his life for his friends.”

The late Author and speaker Brennan Manning has a great story about how he got the name “Brennan.” While growing up, his best friend was a guy named Ray. The two of them did everything together: bought a car together as teenagers, double-dated, went to school together. They even enlisted in the Army together, went to boot camp together and fought on the front lines together.

One night while sitting in a foxhole, Brennan was talking about the old days in Brooklyn while Ray listened and ate a candy bar. Suddenly a live grenade came into the foxhole.  Ray looked at Brennan, smiled, dropped his candy bar and threw himself on the live grenade. It exploded, killing Ray, but Brennan’s life was spared.

When Brennan became a priest, he had to take on the name of a saint. So, he thought of his friend, Ray Brennan. So, he took the name”Brennan.”

Years later Brennan went to visit Ray’s mother in Brooklyn. They sat up one night talking when Brennan asked her, “Do you think Ray loved me?”

Mrs. Brennan got up off the couch, shook her finger in front of Brennan’s face and shouted, “What more could he have done for you?”  Brennan said that at that moment he experienced an epiphany.

He imagined himself standing in front of the Cross of Jesus wondering, “Does God really love me?”  And Jesus’ mother Mary pointing to her Son, saying, “What more could He have done for you?” (Copied).  Can you honestly say, “My best friend is Jesus?” Who will you introduce to Him today?  ‘Tis the season….!