Up to speed? Good, now take out your duck call, cause things are going to go quack.
Let’s start things off with a quote:
"Even if you can prove you're right, you'll never convince anyone by being obnoxious"
Truth & Love:
All you need is love, love … love is all you need.
See don’t things feel better already? Just saying the word “love” or singing that tune seems to get everyone in a better mood. And it should. We learned yesterday that a Christian is called to live out a Biblical principle where one balances truth and love. For our purpose, today’s post will focus on the other side of the seesaw: LOVE.
Pope Francis recently said, “The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials.”
Reading in between the lines of the above quote is the heartbeat of love. The Pope is highlighting the need for a heavy emphasis on love in the Christian church. Perhaps he is weary of a Church that just sits by the sidelines preaching from a distance? Maybe he is reacting to a cold mechanical Church that huddles in its four walls hanging garlic from its doors hoping to ward off vampires? Whatever the case, the telltale sign of a dead institution is when its people are marked by fear, create isolated communities and demonize everybody and everything in sight. Sound like a church near you? Thought so (enter teardrop from Anthony’s right eye).
Unfortunately, the pendulum for the Church has basically swung over to the side of truth. This is what happens when you forget your mission by the way. This whole things is really confusing to me since Jesus repeatedly taught AND displayed love toward others on a regular basis.
“It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick” “I have come to seek and to save that which is lost” “The angels of heaven rejoice with one repentant sinner” Any of that sound familiar? Dear Christian, what have you been reading?
I mean, turn off Joel Osteen and put down the Daily Bread crumb, then wipe off the 3 inches of dust from your Bible and read it. And let me answer your next brain buster of a question: Any Bible will do and any place that you start is fine. OK. It does not matter if you have any one of the zillion translations because the one you have in your house and are neglecting is probably the one that you should be reading.
The Anthony summary: Truth and Love are equally important. The Church seems to really like the truth-y part more than the love-y part. The people that are not part of a church/grew up in church/do not like church are tired of a church that stands inside of its walls looking outside its stained glass windows pointing fingers at everyone saying nana boo boo.
Love: God’s way.
This section is of utmost importance for the reader. Do you remember in my last post when I was saying that a Christian is to first look to God’s Word for guidance and then proceed? This applies here too. When I use the word “love” it is totally possible for you and I to think of different definitions for that word. This is precisely where the Christian and the non-Christian will have problems. Love, for the Christian is defined by God. Here is what I mean, in the book of 1st Corinthians we read:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”
This, among other texts in the Scripture aid to my understanding of what true love is. My understanding of love is directed by what God’s standard of love is. So let’s take an example from our modern society. Let’s say that I read in a newspaper column that a gal is bored with her husband and for no apparent reason decides to up and leave him just because she “fell out of love with him.” The girl asks for advice from “Dear Anonymous” and anonymous says to “follow her heart and be happy.” Now let’s say this girl comes to my office and asks me for advice. To put it simply, she will receive advice that in no way, shape or form reflects the garbage she received previously. Because when I consider love, I first bear in mind what the love of God is – as this is true love. In this way God is like a compass pointing me in the direction of true north.
This complicates things quite a bit as there will be people on both sides of the issue(s) both claiming to be doing the “loving thing.” So for the Christian, they will not actively aid someone in their sin. Look at the Corinthians passage again, “love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” So when I hear the popular philosophy “to just let people do what they want to do” I reject this because truly loving someone is being committed to their eternal good. So, along with God, I hate the sin that destroys them. And I do my best to offer a loving way to present the truth.
Again, this can all be very confusing and to be honest this is why I spend a ton of time during Bible study teaching on subjects just the ones you have been reading about the last couple of days (Can you shameless plug? Engage(D) Bible Study: Thursday night’s Northminster Presby. Church 2334 Wilmington Rd. New Castle Pa. 16105).
In summation: Love is super important. A Christian and a non-Christian will at times understand the word/definition of love differently. This happens due to the ultimate standard by which you live your life. This is not always the case, but when it is, both sides will express how unbelievably goofy the other side looks. Words get tossed around like godless pagan duck loving narrow minded meany AND ungodly atheistic devil horned immoral deviants.
Attention. Attention. All Christians to the Principles office.
For this last section please unplug yourself from your latest podcast sermon and heed this advice …
Truth without love is a total fail. It is highly unattractive too by the way. Think of those bozos that go around with the crazy signs and picket military funerals. Can you say ineffective, unpleasant and unfortunate? 3 words -->They lack love.
Have you noticed how love actually compels a person toward the hurts of others? It drives you toward the pain and brokenhearted. Love heals wounds, feeds mouths and offers advice. Love notices the individual and knows their name; love sits with someone in the middle of the night and offers a word of advice. Love gets you in the game. Oh, and a church lacking love is not a church. And a Christian without Christ-like love is hardly a Christian at all.
Remember when I kicked things off with the Beatles classic, “All you need is love?”
Well, here is where things get a bit hairy. They got it wrong.
Beatle is actually spelled Beetle. No “a.”
Oh, wait, I didn’t mean to highlight that.
I actually mean the song lyrics. Love is not all you need.
And soon you will find out why …
Part 3 is where I take part 1 and part 2, smoosh them together and create a Christian worldview sandwich.
It’ll be yummy so stop back for a bite.
If you enjoyed this post, share it!