Where’s the love in that?

I’ve noticed something in myself lately – in my past few blog entries too.  It’s very subtle, at least to me.  And what is really irritating is that it’s something I’ve seen all my life among people within the ranks of the Christian church and have loathed.  Yet, here I see it in myself – at least to some degree…

I’m so passionate about what I’m saying that I’m forgetting the love…

We (Christians) have the truth as God has communicated it in scripture.  Some pretty life-changing and eternal things are at our disposal and stuffed into our tiny little brains.  Things like Jesus being the only way to God, faith alone in Christ alone, God’s grace being greater than our failures, forgiveness being freely and readily available for all people, God’s help being available in our time of need, etc.  It’s the truth, no denying that (no desire to here).  Yet if we are not careful, we communicate those kinds of powerful truths with the tact of a 500 pound gorilla.  We come across as angry – or at least a bit irritated, when there should always be a sense, in everything we say, that God’s love is the motivator behind it all.

Isn’t that the point of 1 Corinthians 13?  We love that passage so much because it speaks so eloquently about what the nature of love really is.  Yet we fail to see what Paul’s point was in writing it.  In chapter 12  Paul does us a great service by helping us to understand the reality of the spiritual gifts that God gives to those who believe in Christ.  It really is an awesome chapter!  And chapter 13 is his great big CAUTION to us… don’t get so caught up in your gifts and the impact they can have that you forget about the importance of applying them with love!

So how does that relate to what I’ve been noticing?  Well, I’ve been writing a lot about what a Pastor should be… and about parenting… and about marriage… and as I re-read some of what I have written, I sound kind of angry to myself, and more importantly, not very loving or gracious.  While I believe what I’m saying to the very bottom of my soul, I don’t think I’ve done a very good job of applying Paul’s caution – at least to some degree.  I’ve come off the wrong way – and I don’t think that it’s a way that honors Jesus very much at all.

As I realize that and look at the way people often react to the church, it’s no wonder they label us as hate-mongers, condemning, judgemental, or exclusive.  While I know that some of those reactions are just rhetoric used to be inflamatory, I also know there’s a nugget of truth in it.  Some of those people are responding in that way because they’ve felt our anger and passion more than they feel our love and true concern for them as individuals.  I don’t believe that any one of us within the church really INTEND to be that way – but we get so carried away with the conviction that we feel about the truth of God that we forget to apply it with the love and grace of God.

That’s one of the most appealing things about Jesus that I want to learn more… how to love people, warts and all – and STILL be holy, stand for holiness, and move people toward it as well.  Jesus stood against sin, but He still attracted sinners.  I’ve got a lot to learn… 

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One thought on “Where’s the love in that?

  1. Pingback: The Lost Gift of Exhortation « the passionate follower’s journal

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