My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12)
It’s just like us to pass the homeless guy on the street. And although there is a struggle not to look back, we march on. We may even toss up a prayer as we walk on by. But, we hope good things come to him. But, really we don’t love him. I have recently discovered something that at face value is incredibly discouraging. Yet, when looked into deeper it demonstrates our neediness for Christ.
I don’t love everyone. I want them to have a good life, to live with passion, to hopefully find God; But, if I am truly honest with myself, I don’t have the love I am supposed to have.
Our idea of love is very distant from the love that is expected from us by our Creator. And if I truly love someone, then I truly know them. There is a level to love where it involves pain. Could you honestly say that you would give up your car or kidney or even life for the person in the car next to you? Because, when you love someone from the gut level it will take all of you to be what they need at the sacrificial level. You will sacrifice more than you are able to give. And want to give more. See, I can hope the best for someone, even for someone I don’t know, someone anonymous. I can wish that poverty in Africa would vanish. I can even do something about it. But, the very idea of love at the most precious and valuable level is when you know someone personally and familiarly speaking.
This puts us in a really troublesome predicament. Because, Christ our leader says that we should love God and love people. Not only are we commanded to love people, but, also our enemies. Those who purposefully won’t seek to love us in return. So, then where do we go from here? We are only left with one option, ask God to bridge the gap in the midst of our inconsistency and inability to fully love as He desires us to. God offers us His love to share with others. That is the only possible love we can truly give without lacking. So, let His love transform us, in the midst of His sacrificial love may we find that, without our Creator’s fierce love for us, we come up short when it comes to truly loving someone else. So, we must everyday leave our hands open in deep desire for His kind of love.
There is this quirky sense of safety that most of feel in the opportunity to condemn someone else’s religion or even lifestyle. It takes way too much energy to see them beyond those things. If they are Homosexual, then to us that is WHO they are. If they are Mormons, that is WHO they are. It seems that we are just arrogant enough that we feel the need to forcefully “awaken” the sleeping masses to the true religion. To judge them for being outside the fold. Yes, we are told the “test the spirits” as Peter speaks of. We are told that we must never judge another person. There is a huge distinction between judging and correcting. Even Christ tell us that if we judge we must be ready to accept judgement. I think we might be so afraid of our own humanity that it is better to damn someone to hell than to love them. We have the Jonah complex. We would rather see them suffer than to love them through to transformation. We don’t have the patience, so we jump ship and deal with the consequences. Yet, we are told to love. Not judge or condemn. Paul says we should show the grace that we experienced.
If we want to be agents of change and love, we must become what Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman calls “a ruthless idealist.” You see the world that you want to live in and you live it out. You live as if that world has always been possible. Where love is the highest goal. Where grace restores. Where transformation is a daily way to live. Where passion for the love and redemption is the reason we breath.
Dear Lord, please show me how to love others as You love them. Thank you for loving me perfectly and holy. I want to be loving toward all Your people, so please soften my heart.