Monday, May 14, 2012

How to Love Like Jesus Loves

Pride rears its head as I think my way must be the right way - the only way. And fear binds me to that pride.

And I'm humbled as I consider how to love like Jesus loves and what it means to love all, yet please just One.

I think about how Jesus sat and ate with the tax collector, knowing his sin. How he forgave the prostitute and did not condemn her. How He loved sinners; healed, ministered, and forgave.

Yet, when he entered the temple (a house of prayer), being used as a marketplace, he didn't high five anyone or grab a beverage and crack some jokes. He didn't tolerate the sin he witnessed. He was angry. He overturned the tables and drove the people out.

When I see sin influencing and corrupting the church, the body of Christ - the minds of proclaimed Christians, it makes me angry. I'm tempted to kick my feet back and not rock any boats because that would be the easier, more peaceful and acceptable thing to do.

But at what point do we sit and eat with sinners and at what point do we overturn the tables and call out the sin?

My heart is heavy as I see Christians all around me who have become detached to the evolutions of our culture and maybe worse, have become emotionally attached to the culture in which we live, and are more loyal to their generational influences than to an ageless God. It appears we have made "a house of prayer," the church, a place of negotiations.

I'm burdened for my own children. And I fear, admittedly, more than my children not fitting in, that my children will seek to fit in. As much as a mother desires for her children to be safe and protected from difficulties, more so, I desire for them to be burdened, burdened for the culture they live in, burdened for what burdens the heart of Christ.

That's not an easy place to be today.

And yet, it wouldn't be fair not to say that my heart is also heavy as I see Christians condemning each other, pointing out each other's sin like the pharisees, and building up walls. Pride will do that where fear resides.

So, I wrestle with how to do this. How to love the sinner and hate the sin.

But one thing I'm certain of: to love like Jesus loves must take deep roots of faith planted in Christ, who does not change with shifting shadows; to believe and not doubt, like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind. Christians must stand firm in truth as they sit with, eat with and wash the feet of those around them.  Christians love well by the power of the Holy Spirit, God, who was and is and is to come;  the same yesterday, today and forever.

My way may never likely be the right way. Only God's way is, in spite of myself. So I continue to seek the knowledge and heart of God, as I engage our culture standing firm in truth.

May we all lay our lives humble before the feet of Jesus, who alone makes us righteous in the eyes of God.

Scriptural references:
Luke 5:29
Matthew 21:12
James 1:17
James 1:6
Hebrews 13:8
Revelation 4:8

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  1. how do we walk in this world...with a heart full of grace...without compromise...with discernment but not judgement...oh only in HIs love by His spirt. I really think we will wrestle out the questions you posed here for the rest of our lives...but He will lead us as we surrender to him. Great post...blessings ~

  2. Amen! I know how you feel. I've been wrestling with similar thoughts lately. At bed time the other night I asked my son what he thought the job of parents was. His response, "To teach the kids to follow Jesus and know what's true so they can be wise." I pray that is exactly what happens, that in this upside-down generation my son will follow Jesus and be wise! I pray that will be true of me too.

  3. I'm wrestling right along with you, friend. And YES, I fear like you that my kids will fit in too well- that they won't be salt and light, but muted by the world. I'm making your line my prayer this week- may I be burdened with what burdens Christ. And perhaps then my children will be, too. Thanks for thinking out loud and not "fitting in" to the world's schemes. Love your heart.

  4. What a great bunch of wisdom in this post. We need to stand strong, but ultimately, let Him lead us in this battle.

  5. Theresa:

    I also wrestle with this issue...hate the sin, love the sinner, correct a brother or sister when they are wrong. As Christians, we need to stand firm in Biblical truth, yet we are called to love. It is only with the help of the Holy Spirit that we can do as Jesus did.

  6. I struggle here, and love your words to remember how to love the Father -- loving, in His name -- means taking a stand, His love guiding us, for what the Father holds true. I must walk in Jesus' footsteps here to be able to begin to teach this truth to my children. Thank you so much, Theresa.

  7. This makes me really think. What kind of man would eat with sinners and then drive sinners out of the temple?

    I think he understood those who were using sin to manipulate, to justify, and to themselves. And then there were the sinners who just didnt know any better, who needed to be shown a better way

  8. This is a thought-provoking post, Theresa. I don't know the answers, but I do know prayer should precede any step. And,
    I hear you, about the fear of our children desiring to "fit in" a culture that is looking away from God. So much to talk about here-- wish the conversation could continue.


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