Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Only Love...

  Only love. Love reads the angry Facebook posts and prays for those who wrote them. Love chooses not to judge those who will vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Only love.  Love really hopes that he did come to know Christ, and that she is more than just a Methodist. Only love. Love chooses not to allow political differences within the body of Christ to give way to division in the heart. Love...is a choice.

  Love chooses to see the victims of the Orlando shooting as human beings. Love chooses to see God in all faces...not just the faces that belong to straight people. All of us were created in His image regardless of the lifestyle we choose to lead. Love weeps with the families whose arms ache to hold their loved one again. Love weeps for the son of the gunman who took their lives...weeps because he only knew him as dad and now his dad is no more.

    Only love. Love looks at the faces of the Syrian refugees and refuses to see potential terrorists. Instead, love remembers. Love remembers that the Savior of our souls once fled to Egypt with His parents...seeking refuge from a murderous King. Love sees Jesus in the face of a Syrian refugee because Jesus was once a stranger seeking shelter in a foreign land....so love makes room.

  Love chooses not to get hung up on bathroom policies but to ask the questions that really matter. How do I respond in love to the transgender persons of this world? How do I continue to see God in all faces...even the ones who have made changes to their own? Love knows...love knows that in order to lead them to the Lover of their souls, they must first meet Him in the loving and respectful responses of His people. People, who see a human being created in God's image first and not the politics of the day. Love responds the way God responded to us. He entered our mess. He came right into the heart of our sin and loved us any way...with a love so compelling that we were drawn to Him and moved to be transformed.

  Only love. Love lives out  Christ's directive to "Love one another. As I have loved you." (John 13:34)  Love takes to heart that "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." (John 1:14) and "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21) These verses spell out how extravagantly we've been loved...and so we must love the same. We must dwell among others and enter into their mess, much like Christ entered into our messy world and our messy lives... through the messy business of a live human birth!

   His people today, seem to want Him all wrapped up in a neat little package made of black and white wrapping paper. He came to us a mess, covered in the remnants of amniotic fluid and blood. Even as He grew and walked the earth there was nothing about the way He loved that was tidy. He was a religious rule breaker. He stopped a woman from being stoned for adultery. He ate with a tax collector. He touched and healed a leper. The broken and the messy were drawn to Him...by His messy upside down looking love. Do people see this same love in us today? Can they recognize that we are His by our love for them, or are we too busy being divided? Are we too busy trying to box God up in a neatly wrapped package with black and white wrapping paper, to live out the directive that He gave us to "Love one another" ?  

  Only love. Only God's love can heal a hurting world. Only God's love flowing freely through us can can effect lasting change. We are so divided right now as a world, as a nation, and even within the body of Christ. Yet, within the midst of all this angst, hostility, and harsh judgment of each other...there still exists a remnant of people who relentlessly hope for radical change.  As Christ followers who have been placed on the earth at this point in history "for such a time as this", we have the opportunity of a lifetime to point them to our radical Christ. However, unless we are unified by His love, empty of ourselves, and have given up trying to neatly package God...we will miss it!

  I don't want to miss it, do you? Join me. Join me in seeking to BE God's love to a hurting world. Only His love can effect radical change...look what it did for us! Join me in trusting that we don't need all of the answers neatly boxed up and ready ahead of time...God will lead us by His Spirit in each  and every messy moment. Let's point our world to the love of our radical God by the way our love for Him unites us and overflows to embrace them in the midst of their mess!

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