Thursday, March 28, 2013

Loving Like Jesus

My stomach is upset today, like it has been for the past few days. I don't think it's a bug. I think it's one of those things, one of those instances when you keep seeing something over and over and it leaves you unsettled. I think it's my spirit, flipping and churning inside of me at the injustice that seems to swirl all around us like a creeping fog. That spirit crying out inside of me saying "This isn't the way it's supposed to be."

A simple walk through the grocery aisles or quick scroll down the glaring screen of social media leaves one echoing with the question "Where is the LOVE?" We are a people crying out with need, with hurt, with disappointment, with longing to know that we are not alone. Yet we are a people so wrapped up in our own need, hurt and disappointment that day after day we push through the masses as one, yet separate- alone in a crowd. What a dirty trick. That crafty conniver who fell because perfect wasn't enough has pulled the wool over our eyes.

Consider the greatest commandment we were given by the Creator of all things.

~ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matt. 22:36-39 ~


They are two, yet they are one. If we love God, we will love his people. LOVE his people. There are certainly many ways that could look, yet I submit to you this- if we truly love someone, they will feel protected, trusted, HOPEFUL. ( 1 Cor. 13:7 ) We do many things "in the name of love" that certainly don't have those results and the church is one of the biggest offenders here. 

Enter the trickster. He's angry, he's jealous, he's cast out from the Father's love, so he most certainly doesn't want us to reside there either. This love our God fills us with burns him to the core, it conquers all of his vile plans- he must make it stop. What's the easiest way to get someone to stop loving something? Make them scared of it. And boy do we get scared. Hatred spews out of us in torrents because he is literally scaring us to death.

We've become quite adept at masking our fears, we don't just hide them, no we put them right out for people to see, but with pretty labels on them, trying desperately to convince ourselves and others that the actions we are spurred to out of our fear are not just OK, but good. How many have been spurned by the church because we are so focused on being holy that we've forgotten to love like Jesus? We get so caught up in being right and good, and making sure it shows, that we get scared off from approaching those who aren't (or don't appear to be) doing the same. And we're called to do much more than approach them friends, we're called to LOVE them, we're called to DISCIPLE them. We are called to walk along side them and show them how Jesus loves them. We are called to drop our stones and reach out a hand and let Jesus love them through us. 

In convincing us to judge others, (and convincing us that others are judging us) Satan has effectively reduced our ability to love them. Judgement divides, tears down, destroys. Love lifts, encourages, builds up, heals. LOVE CONQUERS ALL. Will we all face judgement? YES. But the One doing the judging will not be doing so out of fear, selfish motivation, conceit, misunderstanding, bias or any of the other myriad of things that get in the way of us being effective judges of each other. He will be doing so out of perfection, out of LOVE.   Because the God of the universe loves us, ALL of us, and as desperately as we are each longing to not be alone, He is longing to have us back in the garden with Him. But to get there we must do something- we must love Him with all of our hearts, and we must love all of His children too.

**After writing this and discussing it with my husband, I felt there was more to be said and had planned on possibly writing a follow up post to clarify some things; then I stumbled on this post over on the Living Proof Ministries blog and it says exactly what I wanted to say. It's a little long but it gets better and better as you go and is filled with so much truth, much better than I could say it myself- please check it out!

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