What does it mean to love recklessly?

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reckless love April 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Emily McDonald @ 3:27 pm

I’ve been tossing this phrase around for months now. Reckless love, or loving recklessly. Before I came to Haiti I had this idea of what I thought ‘reckless love’ meant, but I knew I didn’t fully comprehend its implication.
Having been here 17 days, I now realize that a person can never understand what it means to love recklessly. I believe the longer you live and the longer you practice it, the more you can understand and recognize it, but it can never truly be defined.
Reckless love means to me:
Abandoning all preconceived or known notions, and just loving.
Loving despite difficult personalities and sin.
Acknowledging that you are not always acting within the guidelines of “safe”.
Loving without the fear of being hurt.
Purposefully finding uniqueness.
Loving beyond the point of healthiness.
Continuing to love despite not being loved or appreciated in return.
Loving to a point that you act without the side effects even crossing your mind.

Here are some examples of reckless love that I’ve witnessed or experienced in Haiti:
Kissing scabby elbows, knees and heads
Comfortable, wealthy lives, traded for poor living conditions and unspeakable joy
Being covered in HIV+ blood
Confronting diseases and not hiding from them
Skipping meals so someone else can eat (for the record, I have not had to do this, and haven’t lost weight!)
Loosing precious sleep to get up in the middle of the night to answer a child’s questions about Jesus
Adults sleeping on the floor so children can sleep in beds
Giving a personal life testimony in front of 75 strangers
Sitting and listening to heart breaking life stories
Getting covered in drool, sweat, and tears
Walking for ridiculous amounts of time in miserable temperatures to teach or preach

Some of these things may not seem like they fit the characteristics I listed in the beginning but that’s also what I’m learning. What reckless love looks like for one person will look different for the next person. All of those examples I gave were ways that I have seen reckless loved displayed. For one person it may be fun and entertaining to stand in front of strangers and speak, but for another person it requires recklessly loving 75 strangers and choosing to do the difficult in an attempt to change a life. For me it may be easy and fun to kiss on children, but for someone else it requires a reckless love to not consider germs and cooties and kiss a child’s scab.

The beautiful thing is that we have a timeless, perfect example of reckless love. Someone who completely fulfilled it and proved to us that it is possible.
Jesus disregarded people’s past and present sin and loved them while He called them to live in the freedom of the future.
Jesus loved/loves us despite our horrific sins.
He most certainly did things in love that were clearly unsafe.
He not only finds, he created us uniquely different.
I think it’s a universally accepted fact that dying on a cross is unsafe. Yet He did it.

Reckless love begins in your life as a difficult thing, but the longer you do it the more natural and easy it becomes.


One Response to “reckless love”

  1. Rebekah Says:

    Hi, Love. Your heart is amazing.

    But here is a thought: the question remains: should one do things recklessly? By definition, if one does certain things recklessly, the odds are increased that a person lowers his or her chances of doing anything ever again. One reckless decision may be the last decision you ever make. So is it wise?

    Here is a definition: Reck·less

    1. utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution; careless (usually fol. by of): to be reckless of danger.
    2. characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness: reckless extravagance.

    History is full of examples of people who have “thrown away” their lives for the gospel. In reality, John Bunyan (whose family nearly starved to death while he was in prison), David Brainard (died at 29), and Ann Judson (died at 37 and preceded in death by her two babies) weren’t “reckless” at all, just as Jesus wasn’t reckless when he went to the Cross. Theirs were very calculated, very deliberate decisions made on the basis of a value system very different from the earthly value system which prizes comfort, ease, health, and wealth. Their families and peers questioned the wisdom of “throwing away” their intelligence, gifts, and connections for the unlearned, on “savages”. Their decisions were not smart or safe by worldly standards, but were Wise and Right.

    You are challenging us all to question by what value system we’re living. And I challenge you to take only carefully calculated risks.

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