Saturday, July 18, 2015

On Love

Love people you disagree with. Love Caitlyn Jenner. Love Jeb Bush. Love Barack Obama. Love Dylan Storm. You may think Caitlyn Jenner is despicable, and totally deceiving herself, and full of sin. Tough. Love her. Because God does.  Dylan Storm is a racist murderer. Tough. Love him. Because God does.

We don’t get to decide whom we should love – Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves and then went on to show that everyone is our neighbor. [Luke 10:25-37] And then there is the whole “Love your enemies” thing. [Matt. 5:44] So, even if you believe the people you disagree with are your enemies, guess what? You’re supposed to love them, too!

One of the most famous Bible verses is John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” The key thing here is “the world” – God loves the entire world, and that includes everyone. Similarly, in Romans 5:8 it says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Christ did not die for righteous people, or for people who believe in God – He died for SINNERS. And we are all sinners. [Romans 3:23] So, God loves everyone – including sinners (which is a good thing, since that’s us) – and commands us to love everyone, too.

If God loves these people so much that He sent Christ to die for them, how can we treat them so badly? We call them names; we publicly shame them – is that how we love? By belittling people? Is that the Gospel? I have to admit I am writing this partly because I don’t always remember this. It’s okay to disagree with someone, but do so without disrespecting them – even if you think they don’t deserve respect. Especially if you don’t think they deserve respect. Calling someone names or bullying them isn’t exactly loving them, is it? It’s not a very good reflection of Christ in our lives, is it? Remember that public figures are people – they are someone’s mother, someone’s father, someone’s child. They are God’s children, for heaven’s sake! If you think they are somehow “lost” or “living in sin” isn’t that even more reason to extend the hand of love, and not a slap in the face?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
[1 Cor. 13:4-8]

They will know you are my disciples because of your love. [John 13:35]

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. [1 Cor. 13:13]