No Greater Love
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."1
Maxwell Maltz tells the story of a man who'd been severely injured while attempting to rescue his parents from a fire. His heroic efforts proved to be in vain, though. His mom and dad died in the burning house.
During his rescue attempt the fire badly scorched his face and disfigured it. He was so ashamed of his appearance that he refused to allow anyone—including his wife—to see his face.
For help, his wife went to Maltz, a plastic surgeon. "Not to worry," he assured her, "I can restore his face."
Despite the good news, the wife still felt disheartened. Her husband had always refused any medical treatment. Assuming he wouldn't change his mind, she said to Maltz, "I want you to disfigure my face so I can be like him! If I can share in his pain, then maybe he will let me back into his life."
Maltz tried to mask his horror at the request. He refused to perform the operation, but was so moved by this woman's love for her husband that he went to visit her husband. Through closed door, he yelled, "I'm a plastic surgeon. I want you to know that I can restore your face."
"Please, won't you come out? At least let me see your face. At least talk to me."
Still speaking through a door, Maltz told the man of his wife's request. "She wants me to mutilate her face in order to make her face like yours. She hopes that you will then let her back into your life. That's how much she loves you."
Ever so slowly the doorknob turned.2
True, it must be extremely painful to be disfigured and feel that no one will ever accept you. May God help all of us, including me, to love and accept those who suffer so.
At the same time it is important that each of us realizes how totally repulsive our sinfulness is to God because he is a God of absolute holiness. In spite of this he loves and accepts us unconditionally. God also hates our sin because it is totally destructive of those whom he loves—us. But because of his great love for us, God gave his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay the penalty for all our sin so we can be totally "healed from sin's deathly disfigurement," and be freely forgiven and saved from sin's deadly consequences—eternal separation from God, the author of all love and life.
If you have never accepted God's love and forgiveness, I urge you to do that today. For help read "How to Find and Know God" at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that, in spite of the ugliness of my sinfulness, You love and accept me totally and unconditionally. Help me to truly appreciate what You have done for me and live a life that will bring honor to Your name. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. John 15:13 (NIV).
2. Maxie Dunnam, 'This Is Christianity' (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994), pp. 60-61, http://isbn.nu/0687084105. Cited on WITandWISDOM, www.witandwisdom.org.