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Tim and Tasha Levert

Tim and Tasha have been in youth ministry since 1992, though they look much younger. They both earned PhDs - Tim in adolescent spiritual formation and Tasha in marriage and family counseling. Tim is currently the Student Pastor at the Vineyard Church of New Orleans. Tasha is a writer, speaker, worship leader, and counselor. They have three beautiful daughters and a dog named Gumbo.

My brain never stops. My mind is constantly racing with thoughts about creating something new, improving something old, or eating something sugary. I can’t help myself. I should probably consider meds.

The toughest part of managing a distracted brain is resisting the temptation to shift from being a creative to a critic. Anyone can pick out what’s wrong, but it takes a true creative to see a problem and craft a new idea.

Jesus was the master creative.

Jesus saw the way the people of the New Testament were living and responded with a new covenant. The Jewish people were bound by the 613 laws of the Torah. Jesus took those 613 laws and reduced them to two: love God and love people.

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

When I think about what it must have felt like to ditch the Torah and replace it with Jesus’ two-step plan, the rebellious side of me screams, “SWEET!” The Torah was a tough way to live, but when I think about loving God and loving people, my already racing brain becomes flooded with thoughts of the complexities of love. Love hurts! I find that it is easier to be right than it is to love.

:: Love God :: I’ve built my career around loving God. I’m a God-loving professional, right? I mean seriously, what’s not to love!?!! I’m sure I could beef up my love for God when I consider loving Him with ALL my heart, soul, mind, and strength, but loving God is nothing like loving people.

:: Love People :: Loving people, all people, is the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do. I sometimes wonder if I am loving-impaired. Sure, I can love the people who are loving to me. That’s cake! But loving the person who is unforgiving, indifferent, cruel, judgmental, or mean is another story.  Below are some thoughts about loving people well?

:: Love people as you love yourself :: Some confuse this passage with self-esteem issues by saying, “I can’t love people if I don’t love myself.” I don’t think Jesus was referring to our self-image, I think he was referring to our selfish and self-preserving nature. Loving people more than ourselves means we love beyond our own selfishness and walls:

-  We consider the needs of others with the same regard as our own.

- We protect people from being hurt with the same tenacity as we protect ourselves. As Tim’s wife, I know the things that can truly hurt him. Loving him (and others) well means that I am committed to never using the vulnerable side of him as a weapon to hurt him intentionally.

:: Ask a different question :: As a marriage counselor, I have a caseload of clients who want me to teach their spouses how to love better. I have never had a client ask me to teach them how to love their spouse better.  Most of us know when we are not being loved well, but few of us ask the question, “How can I love more?”

It’s time to ask a different question:

How can I love God more?

How can I love my spouse more?

How can I love my kids more?

How can I love my extended family more?

How can I love my neighbors more?

How can I love my students more?

How can I love my students’ parents more?

How can I love my church more? (especially the woman who hates me)?

How can I love people who don’t love like me, look like me, think like me, believe like me more?

How can I love the oppressed more?

How can I love the unjust more?

How can I love more?

Jesus is not interested in our fancy religious laws. Jesus began a revolution when we called us all out of our indifference into a Kingdom way of life defined by love. Love does hurt, but love heals as well. Loving more starts today.

- Tim & Tasha

3 COMMENTS

  • Darren Gomez says:

    Great article..!!

  • Darren Gomez says:

    Great article! Powerful message!

  • Marianne says:

    Thank you for being the best creative I know…That was a charge for me to check my love..and make sure it’s on others and not me.
    Love you wacky people! Live you for loving on my children…..

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