We are God’s precious children. And those of us reborn in Jesus are supposed to be a new creation. If we truly abide in the Spirit, we allow the love and grace of God to transform our hearts and minds.
As such, we then love each other; we lift each other up.
There is simply too much anger, condemnation, too much accusation, too much vilification of people unlike ourselves.
You are precious to [God]. He loves you, and He loves you so tenderly that He has carved you on the palm of His hand. And to prove that love He died on the cross. How unlike Him we are. How little love, how little compassion, how little forgiveness, how little kindness we have. Our way of life depends on our being rooted in Christ Jesus our Lord by our deliberate choice. (Mother Teresa, No Greater Love)
Our nature is to look for, find and point out things people are doing wrong. Our nature is to seek out sin in others and punish them. Our nature is to dissect God’s love by antiseptically looking through Scripture for verses to use as weapons of fear to nail someone to the cross. Our nature is to try to control and rule by fear.
At the same time, if we give our time, advice or money, we want something in return: thanks, appreciation, indebtedness. Yet, these were all things in the first century ‘honor and shame’ culture Jesus rebelled against. This was the nature and culture Jesus turned upside down with God’s precious forgiveness, love and grace.
As we allow ourselves to settle deep into the pocket of God’s love, our thoughts, our words and our very nature are turned upside down, are slayed and transformed.
We must stop dissecting pieces and portions of Scripture and look to the One who inspired them. We must look at the full and complete story of Jesus and what it means for our lives. We must, rather than using the Bible as a rule book not to be broken, instead us it as inspiration for wisdom to be obtained while abiding in the Spirit. We must allow the Bible to move us, inspire us and mature us. We must be humble servants with no expectation of reward – only shine His light of love and lead others into our Father’s embrace.
How can we be sure that He truly lives in us and that we truly live in Him? By one fact: He has given us His Spirit. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect… So we live like Jesus here in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. (1 John 4:13,16-18)
When we spend more time worshiping the Bible – or certain sections of it – and spend more time defending it than we do worshiping and praising God, we make the Bible an idol. When we call each other heretics because we profess to believe in a different doctrine or political agenda, we dissect God’s love. We put on blinders and lock Him in a box of our design. We make Him into our image instead of remembering it is the other way around. God cannot be contained in a box or a church or a doctrine or a political agenda.
God is immeasurable. He is far more vast than the tiny universe we contrive to place Him in. When Jesus embodied Him, he sought to connect with us through forgiveness, healing, grace and mercy in relationship. As he told Nicodemus, he was sent by the Father who loved us to save us, not to judge us (John 3:16-17). This is love at its most profound. This is unconditional love, not love dissected, filled with conditions.
Conditional love – if you do this, if you don’t do that, if you behave this way or stop behaving that way, then I will love you – is a love separate from God.
Agapaō – God’s love – is the word Jesus used when he gave us a new commandment and told us to love each other the same way he loved us; the same word he used when he told us everyone would know we were his followers by our demonstrated love for each other (John 13:34-35, John 15:12,17).
In order to keep God’s love intact, we cannot pick and choose who it is we love unconditionally. That’s right; we must extend and manifest love for all – our family members, our brothers and sisters in Christ, our neighbors and our enemies.
The choice is yours: dissect or unite; divide or mend. Which do you choose?
My loved ones, let us devote ourselves to loving one another. Love comes straight from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and truly knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. (1 John 4:7-9)