I feel an urgency to call my brothers and sisters in Christ to a place of love. I am not speaking of a kumbayah sort of love where we all hold each other’s sticky hands around a campfire after roasting marshmallows, wishing each other well as we bask in sugar-induced carb comas.
I am talking about the love that sticks through thick and thin. An unwavering love that refuses to let go and holds on with all its might when the angry, chaotic world around it tries to shake it loose. A brave love that steps forward with arms outstretched, determined to express itself even when the enemy’s hate-fueled, stinking breath gets in its face.
This is a fierce love that does not cower or step back when confronted by those who would say that sort of love is judgmental, prejudiced, ignorant, or uncaring. It’s a love that speaks the truth, giving voice to those with no voice. Such a love protects those society tosses to the curb as inconveniences: the unborn in the mother’s womb, the disabled who are threatened with euthanasia, and those who are denied opportunity simply because of their race, gender, the nation of origin, religious beliefs, or socioeconomic status.
I’m talking about a love that burns intensely as it defends Biblical foundational truths with grace and humility. It will not condone blatant sins even as the world shakes its fist in corporate defiance against these truths, “It’s normal and to be celebrated.” Why? Because this love knows the price that such silence has cost the world: brokenness, shattered lives, hatred, rampant intolerance against anyone who disagrees with opposing viewpoint, entitlement, and devastated cities.
This is a love that is willing to be held to account and is willing to lay down its own life to stop others from hurdling themselves off the cliffs of compromise and deception.
Compassion, mercy, and grace saturate Biblical love. This love will not waver, even when faced with the reality of punishment, shunning, and angry retaliation.
1 John 4:18 NASB There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
1 Peter 4:8-11 (MSG) Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time.
The following poem has been attributed to Mother Theresa. Although these words hung on a plaque on her wall, it was actually written by Kent M. Keith. Find the story of the Mother Theresa connection here.
You’ll note neither Mother Theresa nor Kent Keith said, “Leave them there” or “Condone their behaviour.”
As Bob Goff says, “Love Does.”
The Paradoxical Commandments
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centred.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
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Until Next Week,
©2020 Katherine Walden