Skip to main content

Let love settle in...

So many times we focus on the "do not" phrases in scripture as the means by which we should live our lives - the boundaries we are supposed to live within. I am not saying that is necessarily the worst way to look at things, but there is a different take on the matter - we could just live by the one "do" statement which really summarizes all those "do not" ones! I think the "do not" ones are there because we need "concrete" evidence of what is "allowable" versus "disallowed" in this Christian walk.  It isn't as though the "do not" instructions don't matter - they do make it pretty clear for us to know when we are crossing the line.  Yet, if we hear what Jesus taught, it is the one "do" statement which really captures all the others in their entirety.  The do statement? "Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself."  Okay, so maybe you see them as two separate statements - but they really are one - for when we love God in such a way, it is only natural for us to begin to love others in this manner, as well.

The commands given to you in the Scriptures—do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not take what is not yours, do not covet—and any other command you have heard are summarized in God’s instruction: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. (Romans 13:9-10 VOICE)

Love achieves everything the law requires - nothing is left "undone" when love is at the core of our thoughts and actions.  Paul taught the Corinthian believers to be aware of the beliefs of the other person who may be watching your actions.  Just because the liberty you find in Christ to do something with a clear conscience may be okay for you, you must be considerate of the feelings and perceptions of the other person who views you doing it.  For example, if you are with a recovering alcoholic, ordering wine at dinner for yourself may not be the "kindest" nor "wisest" thing to do. Why?  You didn't order a glass for him, did you?  No, yet you are placing a reminder in front of him of how great the struggle is for him to remain sober.  We aren't exactly being loving in our actions at that point - so being conscious of the struggles, attitudes, and needs of another is at the core of what Jesus wants for each of us.

Paul also went on to share what love is and is not - why? He knew we would get this messed up if we didn't have a little clarity around the subject!  When he tells us love is patient and kind, it isn't one-sided, either.  Love is two-sided - one being as patient to the other as he expects the other to be toward him when patience is needed most.  I probably struggle with this one a little more than "love doesn't celebrate injustice" or "love doesn't tally wrongs". Patience when someone is really not acting wisely, or asks you the same thing over and over again is kind of hard. Yet, they may not even know they are doing something for which patience is needed. We all have our little "spots" in life where we struggle to live out our "love" in a positive way.  I think this is why Jesus focused on "love" so much - he knew if we could get this right, everything else would follow.  Love begins with God, enters into us within the person of Christ, and then is to be lived out in us as we allow the image of Christ to become the the dominant force within us.

If you didn't catch that, I will say it again - all we need to live a life according to the "rules" or "commands" laid out in scripture is to allow the love of God to enter into us fully and begin to change us from the inside out.  God's love is doing the work of helping us to become loving individuals - by embracing all the unlovable stuff within us, transforming it by the power of his grace, and then allowing that love to leak out into the lives of others who need it as desperately as we do.  This is probably why Paul teaches that love fulfills all the law - if it begins to affect all of our life, then all of our life will begin to emanate that love in our thoughts, attitudes, and actions.  For some of us, love is not an easy subject to latch onto - because we haven't been loved well, we have been told we don't matter or are unlovely, or maybe we just have told ourselves no one could possibly love us because we are this way or that.  Love isn't understood in the mind - it is interpreted in the actions of another on our behalf.  This is why God connected us to his love through the actions of his Son!  He knew we would only understand the intensity of his love through the intensity of those sacrificial actions.

Instead of trying to "not do" this or that, maybe we'd be better served to begin to just allow God's love to settle into the places of our lives where we struggle the most.  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean

Doubt isn't a bad thing

I would like for you to consider for a moment what this journalist was attempting to share in his words: " Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is - it is her shadow ." (Ambrose Bierce) Have you ever doubted? Then it is suggested you were at least at the place of some form of belief. Have you ever considered what your doubt was attempting to reveal to you? Perhaps doubt is not a bad thing because it points us to consider the truth of a matter. Where doubt is - - - there truth is. It may be in the shadows, but it is there! We need only look a little closer and we will find truth has never been far from us.  The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes. God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate dow