Seems to me there have been a lot of weird things going on within the world of the Christian church and Christianity in general lately. I’m not one that is going to glorify the past and send out a call for the “good old days” as I really think that those times are mostly misremembered and the stain of the sins of past generations fade with time. But I do think we’ve somehow lost our way. And yet while saying that, I also recognize that I am as guilty as anyone else, and probably even more, so I am trying to come at these things in a spirit of humility and not one of judging and finger-pointing. Lord knows we have enough of that in the church already.
What concerns me is that the Christian church seems to have lost the words of Jesus from John 13. After washing his disciples feet Jesus, in the midst of predicting the most gut-wrenching betrayals, says to the twelve, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Love is a funny thing. Sometimes it springs up immediately, like the weeds in my garden. Other times it is carefully nurtured and cultivated and it is a struggle each step of the way. Love makes people do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. And in the greater Christian community today, I think we’re largely loveless. Oh, there are likely small pockets here and there but those people don’t make magazine covers and have thousand of twitter followers and giant speaking platforms. And a loveless church scares me because I think it is then it becomes capable of terrible things, all in the name of God and religion.
I don’t pretend to know what God thinks but I do know this: God created each person and thing in the world because He loves all of humankind. Love is the driving force of God and His action and I can’t even begin to fathom why bad things happen except to know that God loves me. The Bible, for all of the books and chapters and writers, is a really long love story. God loves me, God loves you, and God desires that we reciprocate, replicate, and reiterate that love for all the world to see. And if God sees what I see in the church today, I think he might be sad. I know I am.
I John 4:7-12 tells us as much. “7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
So friends if you’re reading and you’re a church-goer and consider yourself a believer, see about making love a more vital part of your life and your church. If you’ve walked away from the church or haven’t ever been or don’t believe in God, I’m sorry. Not for any of those things, but because I think you’ve been given a distorted image of what God is like from the church. I can’t tell you what the full picture of God is like, and no one else can either, but I can assure you that it is more loving than you could ever imagine. So let’s see if we can love lavishly and show the world a better way.