This post will be rather brief but to me it has a significant meaning... mainly because I do not formally admit that I am wrong... ever. Those of you that know me well, know just how true that can be. It has been pointed out to me that I am wrong in my view of love. Some have pointed it out in a gentle fashion (thanks guys!) and others (mainly the Bible) in a not so gentle fashion (more like a slap, really). It has been brought to my attention that though I know love, I do not love as God has loved me. I know that I've heard this before in my 26 years of attending church... but really... think about it... How have we shown that we love?
John 13:34-35 ESV A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (35) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Um... how many times have we reprimanded someone (whether verbally or not) because of their actions? How many times have we done this at church!? How many times have I done this at church? How can I say that I am loving to others when I'm judging a teenager for trying to fit in... even when it is in the wrong way?
John 15:12-14 ESV “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (13) Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. (14) You are my friends if you do what I command you.
How can I say that I would lay down my life for my friends, when I find myself resistant to talk to them about something that makes me uncomfortable? More importantly, why am I not addressing the things that make me uncomfortable with the perfect example of a friend: Christ?! How can I say that I'm willing to lay down my life for my friends if I still resent them for something that was said to me that hurt me... and sometimes I even think about it before I talk to them making my interaction with them sour?
1 John 4:16-19 ESV So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (17) By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. (18) There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (19) We love because he first loved us.
Could it be that the root of my fears lie in the fact that I have not been perfected in love? And could it be that the root of my not being perfected in love lie in the fact that I have not shown others the amazing love that Christ has shown me?
1 John 4:19-21 ESV We love because he first loved us. (20) If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (21) And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
OUCH! (this is the slap in the face I was talking about earlier) If I only know of God from what I've seen around me but never "seen" him... but I know my brother and have seen my brother and hate my brother... how can I love God? The Lord made my brother. The Lord loves my brother. Why can't I love my brother? The real reason that I can't love my brother maybe many... but the fact of the matter is, I was called to love him. What's more... I can't say that I love God if I don't love my brother... Sounds easy enough, but is it really? Who is my brother? The people I like in church? The people that are nice to me? What about the crazy old man that goes to my church? What about the guy I work with? What about the crazy old lady that lives with me? What about kids that are so bruised and broken from such a perverse society that the only way that they can deal is by being hurtful and cruel? What about the people that are not easy to love... yet God called us to love them anyway? Not only that, He says that we are LIARS (one of the 10 commandments, folks!) if we say we love God and not the brother we know and have seen....
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (2) And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (3) If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
This is another one... I can know everything (and I'm BIG on education and knowledge) but if I don't have love I am nothing... Think about that... You know EVERYTHING... But you don't love the way God calls us to love and we ARE NOTHING. Everything you know is meaningless because the true value of the person is not in their heads but in their hearts....
So this was a lot longer than I thought... but I think it's well worth it...
In short: to all that I interact with on a daily basis, take this post as a formal apology because there is huge possibility that I have not loved you as God has called me to love you. I would like to start over and show you the love that God has shown me.