Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sacrificial love

Sometimes a movie will come along that will dig deep into my emotions, to that deep well of my being; challenge me in my daily life and faith, rocking the core of my beliefs, or what I thought I believed.

If you must know, it was the documentary Beyond The Gates of Splendor.

You may be familiar with Elisabeth Elliot's book The Gates of Splendor or the "so-so" movie that came out in 2006, The End of the Spear. Both tell the story of five missionaries: Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, Nate Saint, and Roger Youdarin--speared to death by members of the Waodani, a violent and isolated tribe. Because these men sacrificed their lives for the telling of the Gospel, God used the blood of these martyrs for His amazing work.

Some of what became of the deaths is this:

~A wife of the speared missionary, Elisabeth Elliot, and a sister of the missionary, Rachel Saint, went to live with the Waodani tribe. By living there, setting up and practicing medicine, and teaching the Waodani about the word of God, the tribe began to not only believe, but listen and obey. Incidentally, their tribal word for the words "listen and obey" was the same word. So this meant that when they were told to listen, it also meant to obey. The death rate in this tribe fell 90 percent.

~Nate Saint, Jr., son of Nate Saint the missionary, went back to the Waodani tribe, living with them with his family. His son called the man who had speared his real grandfather, "Grandfather".

It just goes to show that God allows and sometimes causes horrible things for His glory. This is so paradoxically beautiful, that I cannot wrap my mind totally around it. I stand in awe at His power. The workings of His hand were so magnificently shown in the circumstances of Beyond The Gates of Splendor.

What moved me to sobbing, was the portrayal of sacrificial love. The wives and children of the slain missionaries went back to the tribe that had killed their husbands. Family members of the missionaries lived with them, even called them Grandfather. Now, how can you love somebody like that without the power of Jesus?

We have been called to live a sacrificial love. As Beth Moore says in Believing God:

"God has called us to love even when--

~we don't want to
~we don't feel like it
~we get nothing obvious in return
~they don't deserve it
~they're not worth it
~they don't even know it
~it makes no difference"

This documentary, and God's word, has challenged me to love. Not when it's easy, but when it's hard. It's making me think: Is there someone I know, in my life, who is hard to love? The Lord says to never stop loving. He is love. I'm challenged.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perserveres. Love never fails."
~I Corinthians 13:1-8


Kate said...

Amen, Andrea!
This movie really touched me was a subject pretty close to home for us. Wow, the love of God, truly we could search it for all eternity and nevver grasp the whole of it or reach the bottom of it. Thank you for reminding me of that today. God bless, sister...hope you're doing well and ready for a new week! :) Love in Christ!

L.L. Barkat said...

Oh, a favorite verse. I can never get past it without feeling challenged.

Oh, and I finally got around to the thinking blogger meme. Sorry it took so long (too busy thinking I guess?)

Here it is... Thought Spin

Deborah Hooper said...

Learning to love your enemies is so powerful. When you love them, they cease to be enemies. I had only heard that these missionaries were killed. The entire story is so beautiful.


AIMEE said...

where did you find the documentary? at a blockbuster?
What a challenge...and those questions you posed were great...
i have a very hard time loving a person in my extended family and I am going to be with them for a week at the beach in a few weeks...this has shown me that i need to love them while i am there even when i don't feel like it.

Sarah said...

Great insight, thanks for sharing, both about the documentary and how you were challenged. We have the hardest time remembering that love is a choice, not a feeling, sometimes. But a choice, as you said, that can only be made by the power and love of God working within us, that is the true testimony of it. It's not the natural way of love as the world sees it, but love that "doesn't make sense", reaching to that place in the recipient of that love that is moved and called by the holy spirit. A book I highly recommend on sacrificial love is One Trick Pony, by Phillip Long. I'm actually helping him process his thoughts for the third book in his trilogy on Hope. His blog is: His book at Barnes and Noble: Thanks again for the reminder, I enjoy your blog!

Elise said...

I'm practically sobbing just reading this. I think I know what our next request from Netflix will be...
I know what you mean about not quite being able to wrap your mind around that kind of love. It's what I would hope to do in the same situation, but do not know for sure...

bluemountainmama said...

what a powerful post, andrea! i will definitely look for this documentary. i know the story somewhat, but not in its entirety.

it is such a hard thing to love in this against our human nature.....

Sharon said...

Good thoughts. I have had a fascination with the Elliot's story since I can remember--kind of like the Titanic story. Even there dating relationship was shaped and controlled by God. A real picture of what it is to be sold out to God. She married again and lost that husband also. And she had enough faith in God to marry again. She is amazing. I get her devotional by email each day--they are very insightful.
Someone once told me love is an action not an emotion.I think of that when I can't seem to get my emotions to line up with what I am called to do--love.

Mama Monk said...

I really appreciated this post. Sometimes my well is dry and I use this as an excuse to be unloving or unkind. It is not an excuse. And your post was a good reminder, to keep going, to keep loving.

Anna said...

So powerful. We had to watch this movie as a part of our training to go onto the field and it was such a moving story of Christs love.

Thanks for bringing attention to it Andrea.

Take care.