Sunday, June 8, 2014

How does Christ define love?

Good morning all-

How does Christ define love and why is it so important to love?  I was talking with my hairdresser yesterday and he happens to be gay.  He told me that he felt like he was that way from the beginning. I'm not here to judge and this is not about one point of view over another.  This is about loving people even though they carry sin.  If you have sin in your life and I guarantee you do then this is for you.

One of the things I learned early in life was how people can be hateful.  I was bullied and picked on all through my high school years, which is why at every corner I deter that behavior in people that are around me.  If you've been picked on, ostracized and made fun of, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  That's not love, that's just evil.  It took me along time to just be me and even then I'm not always accepted for who I am.  But through it all, I always loved people.  Often, I found myself praying for my attackers and somehow I skated through with just a few mental images of that very hurtful time.  Others aren't so lucky.  People in wheelchairs, the homeless, or those with mental illness are judged.  Why do we do this?  What gives us the right to be petty and to make fun of things we just don't understand.

I can't choose who anyone loves  but I can choose to love the sinner.  Isn't that what Christ did?  He spoke with every factor of society that was deemed ruined, sinful and even for some, evil.  I don't have to like a behavior or agree with it for that matter but I do have to love.  I know this is hard for all of us because judgement is so much easier.  But if you think about the characters in the Bible, they were all sinners.  Adam and Eve ate the apple.  David murdered a man in order to take his wife and Sara let her husband have an affair to sire a child.  Homosexuality is talked about in the Bible as is: adultery, lying, stealing and hating.  All these things are part of a sinful human life.  We may not all murder or be adulterers but we have all lied; I'm almost positive of it.

My point isn't to make you think more on the judgement because Jesus will do that when each of us dies.  My point is that we must love people.  We must hate the sin but love the sinner.  It is commanded by God that we love one another.  Why? Because love builds bridges.  It takes us from the depths of despair and give us hope.  It keeps us on coarse and helps lift us up in our darkest hours.  Being loved and loving is the greatest gift next to being saved that a person could have on earth.  If you've been loved then you know exactly what I mean.

I'm happy that God gave us this commandment and although I'm sure I fall short; I love to love and to be loved.  It is essential to me that the people in my life know what it is to be loved so that they can pass it on to the next person.  Hate only breeds unrest, anger, resentment and self-infliction.  It will eat you up and eventually make you unrecognizeable.  Hate never healed a nation, mended a broken heart or gave hope to many.  Hate destroys.  So although we might hate the sin, let's love the sinner because that's what we all need to do today.  Christ called us to love so that we would know the full extent of His love.  If you don't agree then you haven't read your Bible lately.  It's full of word pictures that truly show the  love God has for man, even in our sinful state.

With all my heart, I pray that all of us learn to love like Jesus and that we leave the judgement to God.  I have enough to repent for in my own life; I don't need to judge someone else's sin, do you?

Have a blessed day today and know I am praying for our world and for you.  My God is a God of love, sacrifice and forgiveness.  Just ask and see what He is willing to do.

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (1 John 3:11-24 NIV)

My prayer today:

Lord lead us to the cross.  We were born to sin and many of us still don't understand what this means.  It is the nature of our past and will continue until you return.  People are people and we must learn to love people even in their iniquities, just as You have loved us.  I will never be perfect until I'm perfected by You, so until that day, help me to love the sinner just as You love me.  I want to love those that are not Christian, those that are tortured and those that hurt.  I want to love the adulterer, the gay man and the prostitute.  I want to see a homeless person and feel something without turning away in disgust and more importantly, I want a heart that feels what You feel.  I don't want to become a Pharisee.  I want to love my neighbor and love You.  Please fill us with love for the lost, the lonely and the hurting.  Bring us to the cross and remind us that Your sacrifice was for all of us, sinners, needing a Savior.  Thank You for loving us and for helping us be better people because You gave us the ability to love.  In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

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