Author Dave Willis saw the life-changing power of love on a visit to an orphanage in Guatemala called Casa Shalom, which means “house of peace.”
The privately-run Christian orphanage serves about a hundred kids at a time in a place where most orphanages are government-run and fraught with corruption. Some of the children have been sex-trafficked, exploited by the very people who should have been protecting them.
On his first visit there, Dave was introduced to a young Guatemalan girl named Margarita. Her story was heartbreaking. All of the kids’ stories are heartbreaking.
Margarita had been terribly abused by her dad. Then, after she was removed from her home and sent to live with her aunt and uncle, her uncle abused her in similarly unspeakable ways.
The pivotal moment of Dave’s visit came at twilight, as he sat on a hillside overlooking the Guatemalan landscape. He was with Josh and Jessica Hanson, the couple who run Casa Shalom. As they talked, Margarita broke away from the group of girls talking nearby, sat next to Josh, and put her head on his shoulder.
In Spanish, she said, “When I came here, I didn’t know what it meant to feel safe and didn’t know if love was even real. But I know that God loves me, and I know that you love me.”
Tears filled Josh’s eyes. He told Dave that Margarita was deeply broken when she came to their care. She didn’t trust anyone. And with good reason. Everyone that should have protected her had abused her. Weeks and months went by, yet she barely spoke to anyone. All the while, Josh and Jessica did their best to love her. They tried to make her feel safe in every way that they could.
Now, here she was running up to a male authority figure and giving him the biggest hug, so full of joy and life.
What a beautiful picture of God’s healing and redemption!
One of the biggest distinctions between the culture’s definition of love and God’s is that culture considers love a feeling, God considers love a commitment.
In Scripture, love is always rooted in action, in selflessness, in commitment. Jesus demonstrated that to us by what He did for us on the cross. And He calls us to show that kind of love to each other.
Dave Willis is joining us on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Showing Love in Everyday Relationships.” We’re discussing what he calls “seven laws of love” that will help you better understand how to put love into action with those around you. He says love:
When you love others as Jesus loves us, you can change the world! But where do you start? Find out on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, via Google Podcasts, or on our free phone app.
And if you’d like a copy of Dave’s book The Seven Laws of love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships, we’d like to send you one for a gift of any amount. Give us a call at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459). Or visit our website for more information.
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