I was in love with Jimmy Scott and it was high time that he knew it!
Or so I felt and thought as much as any third grader could.
Of course, he knew that I “liked” him because my friend and I had called him on the phone one day and declared how cute he was and how much he was “liked”, all the while trying to contain our girlish giggles.
Somehow, Jimmy did NOT find this uncomfortable situation he was placed in to be very humorous.
I guess I didn’t take the hint from that experience that Jimmy was not interested in the least because when Valentines Day was approaching, my teacher gave me a fantastic opportunity to openly declare my deep affections in front of the whole third grade class!
Somewhere, the teacher had acquired a little ditty that asked:
“Do you love me or do you not, you told me once but I forgot?”
She thought it would be wonderful if each of us walked up to the object of our affections and quoted this sweet little phrase and waited for a “yes” or “no” reply.
Now, I don’t know where my teacher had gotten her degree from but if she had any knowledge of third grade boys at all, she would have known that this was not their idea of an enjoyable activity.
In fact, given the choice as to whether they would like to pummel each other purple on the playground or quote this happy ditty to a girl or hear it quoted to them, they would have most definitely chosen the former!
For both boys and girls, the fear of rejection from their one true love in front of the whole class was mixed in with the curiosity as to what the outcome for everyone was going to be.
Anxiously, we all sat in a circle and one by one were asked to go to whomever we would choose and ask this question.
A few of the boys came to me and asked the dreaded question, to which I, being loyal and faithful to Jimmy alone, responded with a “thank you, but ‘no’ “.
I waited when it was Jimmy’s turn to see if he would ask me but instead, I watched as he slowly walked across the room and asked someone else!
Of course, thinking Jimmy must have misunderstood how this devotion and true love thing was supposed to work, when it was my turn, I went straight to him with the question myself.
Surely, if he knew of my love, he would be thrilled to reciprocate wouldn’t he?
Jimmy, already feeling stalked at this point and seeing that I clearly was not getting the hints he was sending, turned several shades of red and quickly but firmly declared his “no”.
Can anyone say, “ouch!?”
So the wonderful Valentine exercise ended with many of us wandering back to our seats, swallowing the lump in our throats and trying to overcome the deep sense of shame and humiliation we felt from being rejected by the one we “loved” the most.
Love is a messy thing when it is a one way street.
Isn’t this truth the very essence of the gospel though?
Jesus Christ loved those who did not love him back, to the point that he shed his very blood for sins that he did not commit in order to declare his love for mankind.
He took our guilt, our shame, our rejection upon himself when he hung on the cross.
His sacrificial love was brutal and it was messy.
There is no question as to whether he loves us, it has already been demonstrated.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
There is only one question for us.
Will we believe in Him and love him back?
He asks it of me, of Jimmy, of a third grade class, in fact, the whole world.
How will we respond?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” John 3:16,17