How about a little more PDA up in here?

starving for affection
I was hanging out with Claire the other day. We were just sitting in her house visiting and sipping coffee. Her husband was getting ready to leave for work. He had his arms full, and he bent down to tell her bye. He carefully leaned over and gently kissed her on the head. You guys, it was so cute, I nearly had to stifle an out loud, “Awe….!” It was just how he did it. I could see just by watching, that kiss meant so much more than just, “see you later.” It said, ” I love you. I respect you. I want to take care of you. ” My heart just loved it. It brought me such joy to see that she was married to someone who treasures her. When we love someone very much, we want them to be well cared for. I imagine that is how God might feel when He watches us care for each other.
Last Sunday in church, my one year old nephew was sitting with us. We love spending time with him and are all very close. Ashton is a non-stop moving, freakishly smart, ball of love and babbling. He has taken to our son Alex, in such a neat way. He lights up as soon as he sees him. He knows Alex will play with him. As a mom, it took me by surprise, how proud I am to watch our kids with Ashton. They are quite a bit older than him, but totally smitten and love him to pieces. As they play, I watch them cover furniture with their hands, so he won’t hit his head. They give him a hand to help him up. They run ahead to shut bathroom doors to keep him safe from even himself. They pick him up and carry him when he is hurt or scared. They just watch over him. They shield him, and protect him even from himself. I will insert a couple photos of Alex with him in church

Alex and Ashton
Alex and Ashton 1
Hey look Alex! Smack!Alex and Ashton 3
Alex and Ashton 2
As I watched this, a scripture passage came to my mind.
Romans 12: 10-21
10. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11. Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12. Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13. Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
God wants us to treat each other with intentional gentleness and care. I wish this was easier when our feelings get hurt, when someone makes us mad, or when we feel threatened. It’s easy to think about how nice life would be if everyone did these things. I am including myself in that “everyone.”
I used to wonder about verse 20 in that last passage. How does treating an enemy nicely, heap coals of fire onto their head? I don’t even think I should be rooting for that? Seems kinda mean. It took hearing a sermon with this was quoted, before I finally understood. Heaping coals of fire onto their heads, means to burn their conscience. Treating someone well when they are treating you bad, causes their conscience to burn. It makes them question how they are treating you and why. Suddenly the point of this made so much more sense. It’s not some twisted act of revenge, it’s an act of love, with the aim to gain a brother.
Shielding each other, is not something we can do in every aspect of life. Sometimes the only shielding we can do for someone, is just to make sure we aren’t also part of those who are throwing darts at them. We can only make sure we aren’t also a part of their problems.
I love this website’s definition of “Kindly Affectionate”: . The words in the original are more strong and specific than in our translation. This being kindly affectioned is expressed by a term which means the love of kindred; which is far more intense than the general good liking that obtains between man and man in society, or than ordinary friendship. “Kindly Affectioned,” means to treat everyone like your brother or sister.
Somehow in loving someone as a true brother, we always give them the benefit of the doubt.. We don’t assume motivations are evil. We don’t categorize them. We try to shield them and deal with them gently. I have two brothers and a sister. When I hear about something they have done, I’d attribute it to ignorance before I attributed it to evil intent. I really hope they give me the same benefit when the tables are turned, because I also ignorantly do stuff sometimes.
Our society has been infected with an idea that prejudice is our problem. I disagree. I have great friends, family, and kindred spirits, who are various nationalities, colors, and denominations. My sis in law is Mexican. I love it. Her culture brings an added richness to our lives. I have Phillipino, African, Honduran, Chinese, and Jewish friends. Kindred spirits. Love that crosses all blood lines, religious bounds and belief systems. This is possible in part, by just a bunch of souls, not putting limits on how far they are willing to let their love reach. Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, and White, we are all equally precious in His sight. He loves His little children of this world. I love them too. I don’t care if you are short, tall, fat, skinny, crooked nosed, freckled, hairy, bald, or stinky. Okay…that’s a lie. I do kinda hope you bathe, but I was a CNA for a bit, so I can handle it even if you don’t. I understand, I’ve been the stinky one before. I didn’t get to bathe for 6 days after my last surgery. Thank you guys for loving me anyway…even if you were only breathing out your mouth in my presence, to preserve my dignity.
Let’s talk about loving in spite of fear. I am sharing this with permission from my friend Melanie. I need to tell you a story. I lived in Ohio, when my future husband and I first hit it off. It was wholly unexpected for both of us. We’d both been in my cousin’s wedding in Missouri, me as a bridesmaid, and he as a groomsman. He was best friend’s with my cousin Matt. The wedding party had a blast together that weekend. We played games, went out to eat together and tried to stay in touch by prehistoric email when we had to part ways. You know…back when dial up email sounded like two dying pterodactyls in a mid air fight to the death. Aaron and I casually emailed about jobs, weather, upcoming church camp. That kind of thing. We were friends.
Church camp came a month later. That year we were both counselors. We hung out as friends, and ate meals alongside our other friends in the dining hall. We were never alone. Everything is separated by different boys and girls quarters. I found myself walking with a friend to a study class. She said, “Amy, I don’t know if it matters or not, but I just wanted to let you know that Aaron has a girlfriend. They have been dating for a month or two. I noticed you guys hanging around each other, and I don’t know if there is anything more to it or not, but I thought maybe I should tell you just in case.”
I admit, I was caught a bit off guard. I hadn’t thought about that possibility. I didn’t even realize until that moment, that I had begun to feel something else developing there. I tried to hide my surprise and thanked her. I had to really sift through my thoughts after that. He hadn’t mentioned anything, but there probably wasn’t reason to have told me anyway. I’d simply not realized I was beginning to feel this way about someone who was dating someone already. I made the decision that I would not mention anything, and we would just proceed as friends. He approached me the next day and I realized immediately that he had a mission. I was cringing and hoping it wasn’t what I thought it was. He said, “Amy, my cousin told me that someone told you I had a girlfriend.” Oh poop! Yup! It’s what I’d hoped it wasn’t. A conversation with an awkward level in the red zone. Danger! Danger! I wanted to find the hole, and crawl into it. He said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know…(awkward pause) maybe I should have said something. I just figured we were friends and…” I interrupted him. “Look, you don’t need to apologize. We really are just friends. You didn’t even need to say anything. I just didn’t know, but now that I do, there is nothing to worry about.” There was some awkwardness for those seconds, but they passed and we went on with what needed to be done at the camp.
That weekend, he needed a ride to the airport. He was flying back home to Arizona. Everyone was in from out of town, and I was one of the few who had my car. He asked me for a ride. We drove to the airport in awkward silence. This was back in August of 2001, when you could still go right up to the gate with someone flying, and not get x-rayed and frisked by TSA first. I waited with him, in semi uncomfortable silence. They called his flight, and suddenly he said, “I don’t know what to think here …” I interrupted him. “Um…I am not someone who wants to get involved here, but I kinda feel like something is happening, and we didn’t mean for it to. I know you have a girlfriend, and I’m not the kind of girl who is going to mess that up for you.” He jumped up with his bag and slung it over his shoulder. He looked at me and said, “I know. I am going to really miss you. Then he hugged me and left.”
Days later, when his email was delivered by prehistoric pterodactyl, he told me that he had gone home and talked to his girlfriend right away. He told her he needed a break and time to think. I know none of us wanted to hurt anyone. I prayed for her, for Aaron, and for myself. A month went by before we talked about any of it. They had concluded to stop dating.
I had only been allowing myself to pray that God’s perfect will be done. God had rested some super human natural peace on my heart during that time, and I knew it would be okay.
Obviously the rest is history, but there is a very important part here that can’t be overlooked. When I moved to Phoenix, I was very worried there would be hurt between us, and I would never want that. We went to the same church, and I didn’t want things to be strained between us. After a week or so in town, I grabbed a chance to talk to Melanie. Poor thing. I’m sure she wanted to talk to me, as much as she wanted a root canal with a rusty fork. Melanie is a pretty awesome human though. She turned around, probably bracing for whatever would come out of my mouth. I just told her that I was so sorry that things had started out this way. I wanted her to know that I’d never meant to hurt her, and that Aaron may be a special kind of awkward, when it comes to talking about emotional things, but I knew he cared about her, and didn’t want to hurt her either. She said she appreciated that, and we kind of awkwardly parted.
We have been good friends now, for 16 years. Life moved on. Aaron and I got married. She married someone else and had 3 beautiful kids. She has been a constant support to me during my health struggles. We walked together, while we both were pregnant with our girls. We visited each other after our babies were born. Our friendship is the kind that, in nature, if it were to be symbolized, would look like an evergreen tree growing out of a rock on the side of a mountain. It didn’t look like it had a promising start, but we both committed to persevering through the discomfort together, to arrive at a beautiful place. Both of us watered that tree with gentleness, affection, care, and reassurance, so that it could grow. None of this would have been possible, if she’d not been the stellar human she is. Her forgiveness made this friendship possible. I love her very much and I’ve been so glad all these years, that it hasn’t stopped us from finding a precious kinship. We loved in spite of the fear of each other. It’s a very beautiful thing, to see what God can do in seemingly disastrous situations.
Maybe the cultural forecast isn’t painting a promising picture of our potential relationships with each other. Maybe when it comes to race relations, religious differences, or even a history of hate…things don’t look too promising, but God is a game changer. He has asked us to do things differently than our nature usually dictates. He asks us to do the opposite of what we naturally do. I’m sure a part of Melanie, wanted to karate chop me in the throat. She didn’t though. Her relationship with God, and her love for Him, dictated her reaction to me. I also didn’t want to have that talk. I was sure she hated me. I was scared she would think that we didn’t take her into account. I didn’t know if she’d believe me when I told her that I cared about her. She handled things God’s way, and look at the awesome outcome. In being kindly affectioned to one another, it minimized the pain, we could have caused each other.
God asks us to love Him enough, to do things His way. You’d think it was the hard way, but it’s actually just the merciful way. His way, brought together a friendship. If we’d done what our instincts encourage us to do, we might still be awkwardly avoiding each other.
God asks us to forgive people who aren’t sorry. He asks us to love people who use us, and care for the weakest among us. God asks us to do this because He wants us to understand what He does for us every single minute of every single day of our lives. He takes so much from us and yet, He deals with us as His children. He wants to show us how His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts, because He knows how to heal our hearts, and the hearts of all those around us. He is gentle, and protecting and He even cherishes us. These are the qualities of our Father in Heaven, and our qualifications for citizenship in His kingdom.
Mathew 6: 19:21
19. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The more I learn about God and get to know Him, the more I realize how amazing He is and how much I love Him. He is everything good. It took me awhile to realize that my treasure is God, and the precious souls He has created, are His treasures. I need nothing else. The more I love God, the more I love what He loves. He sees that there are souls who are starving for affection. They have their material needs met, but their hearts are starved for evidence that they are cherished. This may be the one way, we can always feed the hungry.
1st Thessalonians 5:26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
When I say PDA, that’s not me saying we all need to go around smooching everyone. I’m even pretty sure that’s not what this scripture was implying either, but I do think that we can do a better job of showing each other that we care. A kiss is an act of affection. It’s an act of love, cherishing, protection, and gentleness. We kiss those who are closest to us, our parents, our siblings, our children, our friends, and our spouses. Just as there are many different kinds of kisses, there are different ways to show affection. Just handling each other gently, protectively, empathetically, and considerately, are acts of affection. The sentiment is similar behind each act of affection. It’s our soul, telling another soul, that they matter to us.
Just as Claire’s husband bent to kiss her head, he said a million things with that act of affection. We encompass a million emotions when we deal with one another. In each action we take, we perform an act of affection. Our actions show whether we appreciate, cherish, and love each other. Every action counts. Every action is a public display of affection toward those you interact with, and we have to ask ourselves what we are saying to each other in how we perform those actions.
Now how about showing some more PDA?! There we go…that’s better. Big big hugs…and a kiss 😉 to each of you!Snoopy

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