As Christians there are so many issues we get hung up on. We all have our pet doctrines, beliefs and traditions. We rank them in order of importance in our mind and are baffled when others take them so lightly.
Don’t get me wrong, doctrine and a clear understanding of what we believe is important, but Jesus boiled it down to two commands when asked. “Love God with everything you got and love people.” Yes, that was from the DRV, Debi Revised Version see Matthew 22:36-40 for the long version. He followed that with the statement, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Did you hear that???? All of the law…commandments…rules….regulations…traditions..should and will if they are of God fall under the umbrella of loving God and loving those He puts in our path.
How do we miss it so often? Are we more like the Pharisees than we care to acknowledge? Content to look good on the outside and criticize everyone that doesn’t “live” the way we think they should? It’s the very thing that causes us to judge each other so harshly. In James 3:9-10, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s image.”
Ugh! I’m so guilty of this and I hate that sin in me!
Worse yet, we secretly and sometimes openly dislike people who act irresponsibly, unbecomingly or even illegally, that aren’t even believers! How do you share the good news of the gospel with people you don’t even like?
You don’t! You avoid them. Then you pray and formulate a picture in your mind of someone “acceptable” to share the love of God with? This is all very subconscious, of course. Satan is ever so subtle in his deceptions.
I will never forget visiting my brother Tommy about four months before his death. The cancer had accelerated since my previous visit. I caught him bare chested where the ravages of the disease had consumed my once muscle toned, motorcross lovin, brother into someone who more resembled a POW victim. The sight instantly brought tears to my eyes. Tommy had not been sleeping well and had been studying the Word, praying and drawing amazing strength from the Lord. When our eyes locked, he looked at me with this look that testified of God’s nearness and simply said, “Debi, God has been showing me how much he loves people, even the people that hate Him. It’s incredible, He loves them so much!”
I have thought about that over and over. Why didn’t God tell Tommy He loved him, or that He loved his family and would take care of them when Tommy was gone? Why this revelation of His love of those who hate Him. It’s so mysterious, so not like what I would have impressed on anyone wracked with pain, with an exhausted wife caring for him, a family struggling at every point with him, much less….my dying brother and yet so not like us, GOD!
Paul summed it up in Romans 5:6-8 ” You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
How quickly we forget! We were irresponsible, illegal by God’s standards and unbecoming before a Holy God, yet, “God so loved us that He gave His only Son!” John 3:16
Tommy had experienced God’s love and continued to experience it until he passed through the shadow of death. But that morning he had seen a depth of the Father’s love that left him amazed. And I got to see a reflection of it on my brother’s face.
Oh Father, I am so conditional in my love, please remind me constantly of your love for the unlovable and my privilege to pass it on!