This post is one in a series of posts called “Glimpses of God” which I am writing as part of the Write31Days blog challenge. You can find the other posts here: 31 Glimpses of God Blog Challenge (#write31days)
I am sitting in my 12 year old son’s room, writing my third lesson in a row on the fact that God calls His children to love. Over and over again I am struck by phrases such as; God is love, Love one another as God loved you, we love because He first loved us…..
The way we know we are God’s children? Love.
The way the world will know we are God’s children? Love.
The way God reveals Himself to others? Love.
Over and over again, God keeps illuminating this truth brighter and brighter until I feel as though I am looking directly at the sun: God’s children are known by the presence of God’s love in them.
This is not to be confused, as the world most often does, with the concept of tolerance. Tolerance is not love. In fact, in many cases tolerance is hate in a pretty dress. Tolerance claims to openly embrace all: all faiths, all ideas, all expressions of love and everything else. Yet, many who hold to tolerance like a religion, are the first to spew hatred at those who disagree with them. How can one who preaches tolerance have none for one who dares to believe differently then they do?
While love does embrace those who are different, and believe differently, real love sets limits and holds fast to truth. Real love says, “I love you too much to let you think the path you are on will lead to good things.” Real love throws a life line.
Sadly however, many in the church choose to throw an anchor on the head of the one drowning. This is not real love either. Real love, God’s love, does not express itself with hate, violence, or condemning. We are not called to judge. God’s children are called to love, to teach, to speak gently but firmly for truth. Too often Christians do far more harm then good when they try and disguise their hate and judgement in the robe of love.
Both of those examples are covert expressions of hate, but what about the overt hate happy to step into the limelight?
As I sit here in my son’s room processing what true God-filled love is, I cannot help but think about the 12 year old boy who was tortured and then crucified in Syria several weeks ago. I just heard about this today, as I imagine some are just now hearing about it. It is beyond my comprehension. The hate-filled, evil loving terrorists cut off the boys fingers in an attempt to get his missionary father to renounce his faith in Jesus. Think about that for a minute. Let that pierce your heart. That father’s choice was to see his son tortured or deny Jesus. I cannot imagine that level of agony. Both father and son were then crucified and left on the crosses for two days. This was how those terrorists celebrated their religious festival.
God is love. God says to love. God sent His Son in love to rescue a people who did not know how to love. And now half a world away, twisted evil embracing people are trying to silence God’s love with their hate. It makes me sick to think about. I find myself praying some of David’s prayers from the Psalms (have you ever read some of those? That man did not hold back what he thought God should do to evil men!)
I write all this as a way to begin processing what can’t be processed. Suddenly things that seemed important yesterday, don’t seem as important today. Does my never ending honey-do list really matter? Does the fact my family room carpet isn’t what I want warrant a stress reaction? Not at all!
What matters is that this world is being swallowed up by hate. The obvious hate of what is going on in Syria, and hate disguised as tolerance and self-righteous condemnation.
What can I do? What can the church do? It is so easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. I have been sitting here all morning feeling that way, but then I looked up and I saw a glimpse from the Author and Creator of love. He gave me my first step. And while it doesn’t feel like much, who knows where each of our first steps in obedience may lead. The word He gave me:
“Dear friends, since God loved us so much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” 1 John 4:11-12
Let us walk in love, let us dwell in love, and let us ask Love Himself to guide us in this world.
See you tomorrow,