As I write this, my wife Jamila and I are less than 36 hours from welcoming our third (and final) child, Khalil, to our family. We’ve got two boys, Kingston (9) and Kendrick (1.8), and we won’t be trying for a girl. On the advice of someone more seasoned than us, we’ve decided to accept what God has given us rather than keep trying for what we think we want. Plus, what I know I don’t want is four kids. So there’s that! Lol
We’ve considered adoption and we’re open to fostering as well. So if God wants to send us a girl that way, then I will spoil her just the same! For me, it doesn’t matter how God sends us children. Our kids are our kids and we’ll love them with all we’ve got.
My oldest son came into my life through my wife. They were a combo! She was the blessing I was pursuing and he is the bonus I received for my efforts. Kingston was easy for me to fall in love with. You would fall in love with him if you had the chance! But even though I had deep affection that began to grow from his first appearances on Jamila and my Skype calls (we were long distance), I still had to learn to really love him in the way a father loves a son. That took time, but he and I finally came to the place where we loved each other as the family we had become—a love beyond affection.
A couple years ago, shortly before Kendrick was born, I began to struggle with the concept of loving another child. Would I be able to love him the way I love Kingston? Might I fall into the trap of loving him differently? Would my love transfer from one son to another, forsaking the first?
Though I had made up my mind to love them equally, I still accompanied my wife into the delivery room with these questions in my mind. Then, after a few tense moments holding my wife’s hand through surgery, I met Kendrick face to face and experienced—in a moment—something I had never experienced before. In that moment, instantaneously, God used Kendrick as the key to unlocking a new dimension in my capacity for love.
My fears and concerns were assuaged. I didn’t have to split love between children! God granted me the measure of love I would need to give to this new life who had just entered into my life. God already loved Kendrick from eternity and the capacity for loving him came into the earth, from God, with his arrival.
What I have come to understand is that God’s love is so vast—so high, so deep, so mighty, so everlasting, so supernatural, and so persistent (Romans 8:35-39), that I have never really had a good grasp on it. I still don’t. Issa lot. This is the “so” in “For God so loved the world… (John 3:16).”
When Khalil gets here, my capacity for love will once again be enlarged to accommodate this new person. The capacity is only part of it though. I’ll still have to learn how to love him. He will be my teacher. I’m really hoping that one of the tools he uses to teach me how to love him is by sleeping through the night and taking long naps during the day.
When we engage in new relationships, those new relationships teach us new ways to love. We can love all people with the same love, but not in the same way. We love each other with God’s love. The ways we love each other will vary with the unique nature of each of us individually and will have as many enumerations as there are combinations of individuals able to be in relationship with one another.
This particular type of love I’m talking about is not romantic love. Romantic love is based on feelings. This love isn’t even the kind that the well known city in Pennsylvania is named for. Brotherly love, is rooted in commonality—“I got love for you because we’re the same… we’ve got something in common.” No, this love is the type of love that God has for us. It is good will. Wanting good for another. It indicates a preference towards another.
Now, most of us have a few people we can honestly say we have good will towards. There’s some people we really want to see do well—people for whom we’re willing to sacrifice a little to see them win. You’re probably thinking of one or two people now.
Flip that coin tho… on the other side, it’s somebody right now who could be on fire and you wouldn’t spit on them to help put the fire out. It may be a certain type of people you have no desire or intention of being around, let alone getting to know. Certain personality types, that particular enneagram number, these few astrological signs, the other political party, that race, gender, orientation, religion, denomination… yeah, you know what I’m talkin’ bout!
Here’s the thing though: God’s love covers us and them ALL! Remember how vast God’s love is… I know it’s uncomfortable to think of “those people” as being as loved by God as you, but you being God’s favorite doesn’t preclude God from loving them heavy too. So now try this on for size:
When those people come into your life, it’s for you to love them like God loves them too.
You can stop reading here if you want to; that ain’t gone change the truth! Lol We can’t just stick with our clique. It might not feel like we do, but we have the ability to love anyone who God allows us to cross paths with. I’m not suggesting everybody is going to be your friend. Everybody ain’t like Jesus. Everybody ain’t gonna like you. Nothing says you have to like them either. I’m not talking about like, though.
Closing ourselves off to loving new and different people limits our own growth in the area of love. When God sends new people into our lives, He sends with them the capacity for us to love them like He does. We just have to allow His Spirit to produce the love in us. This is definitely a challenge that we have to choose to accept with each relational opportunity we’re presented with.
If we are unwilling to grow, by accepting the challenge of loving those God places in our proximity, we run the risk of capping our own capacity. Learning to love each individual exposes us to a dimension of God’s love we may have never tapped into. God is teaching us the fullness of His love by challenging and stretching us with relationships.
The way you love those you already love is different the way you’ll have to love others. The most beautiful part is that we gain a new measure of understanding of God’s love when we learn new ways to love. And this may ultimately allow us to experience the degree and measure of love we desire for ourselves.
I can’t wait to learn what kind of love Khalil shows me I am capable of… and what new kind of love I discover God has always had for me.
Keith Goosby II is the founding minister of NET Church. He has served in ministry for over 20 years, in various capacities–including music, social media management, teaching, preaching, consulting, and leadership. Keith’s first church experience as a child was a home church. Since then, he has attended and served at churches sizing from just a few to over 10,000–of various denominations and affiliations. As NET Church is being planted, Keith continues to serve at his Dallas home church, Golden Gate MBC, in Dallas, TX, under the leadership of Minister Vincent T. Parker. Keith is married and currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife and three sons.