The Adjustments of Love

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. –John 15:12-13

A surgeon wrote this story about an experience that changed his life.

I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth, has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had cut the little nerve. Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed, and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private. Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry-mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily? The young woman speaks. “Will my mouth always be like this?” she asks. “Yes,” I say, “it will. It is because the nerve was cut.” She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles. “I like it,” he says. “It is kind of cute.” All at once I know who he is. I understand, and lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a great man. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth, and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works.*

This husband was a great man. In the midst of what could have been a horrible experience for all, he rose above his shock: He accommodated his life and kiss to set his wife at ease.

As a Christian you are called to adjust your life to serve your fellow human family. What is God calling you to do with your life? Are you willing to follow His call? Are you willing to make some adjustments to your lifestyle if necessary?

GOING DEEPER:
1. What does Jesus call us to do in John 15:12-13?

2. What can you do with your life to make it count? Is there a part of your life that you’ve been complaining about that really would be better off if you took a different attitude about it? Today make an accommodation of love that you’ve needed to make for a long time.

FURTHER READING:
John 13:34; John 10:11; Romans 5:7-8

* Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery by Richard Selzer, M.D. (Touchstone Books, 1987)

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the President of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 30 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage and Closer. Jim and his wife, Cathy live Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca and Heidi.

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