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Posts Tagged ‘love others’

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy
but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power,
revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day,
and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps,

but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr,
but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.

So, no matter what I say,
what I believe,
and what I do,
I’m bankrupt without love.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-4

In 1 John 4:7  we are told, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” Then, later in 1 Corinthians 13 we are told it is “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, endures all things (v. 4-7).

It would appear that if we are to love like God loves, we need to do so with the mind and actions of Christ in all that we do … otherwise, Christ, and all that He brings to the table is omitted.

Everywhere we go today we are faced with two words. They are ‘trendy’ words. They are ‘in’ words. But they are not always accompanied by the love of Christ. They are … social justice.

Social justice is an attempt within a society to address issues such as world poverty, clean water, sickness, human trafficking, homelessness, the environment, and oppression around the world. It is a valid, and valiant desire to fulfill the Golden Rule (“do for others what you would want done for you” aka Luke 6:31).

Our North American society is gaga over social justice. The phrase “first world problems” (complaints made by only those of us who live in the privileged 10-15% of the world) has replaced the phrase “out of the box thinking” of just a few years ago. The Occupy movement that littered many cities with everything from human refuse to biodegradable coffee cups, preached an end to the injustice of economic inequality.

Politicians pull out Social Justice issues to win over voters and elections. Teachers integrate into our curriculum teaching of the need to give and to do for those who are not as fortunate as those of us in the ‘first world’. Preachers preach of our need to love our neighbor … in another country, another continent.

“… but if we don’t have love …”

Back in December, I wrote in my post, A God Thing, about the apathy of my homeroom class in choosing one of the prescribed causes to support. The overwhelming response was, “I can easily donate _____ to one of the causes, but it really does not have any real meaning for me.”

I wonder if what these teenage students were really saying, “I can give, but I don’t have love … heck, I do not even know who I am giving to.”

I believe strongly in social justice, I donate to causes and organizations that are the hands and feet of my moula (as well as of Christ), but I have to admit that, like those teens in my homeroom, I have become so satiated with the message of social justice that it is losing any real meaning for me.

Social justice has become so trendy, so … loveless.

What if, rather than try to save those living on the streets of Tijuana, we help our neighbor who is struggling under financial burdens that might make that family homeless?

What if, rather than try to get kids out of prostitution in Thailand, we work towards building up the young girls in our neighborhoods, our schools, our churches, so that they are not tempted into

What if, rather than helping the sick, the lame, the disabled in a third world country, we got to know the senior citizen who lives alone, or the single mom whose son is Autistic, or the gentleman in the wheelchair who you see whenever you go to the swimming pool?

What if …fec41385b476074eb5cbf7fe81e454fd

we showed love …

to those most near to us?

Could there be a more ‘just’ action to do as a society?

Then maybe helping those under oppression, without basic needs, and without hope around the world would have more meaning to us?

if-we-cannot-love-the-person-whom-we-see

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I’m gonna gripe, and that’s never pretty, so be prepared (I feel it is unfair to allow you to start reading this without being forewarned first).

I also need to explain that my gripe is directed to Christians, and no one else. So read if you like, or take a day off from reading my blog.

There is a trend among Christians these days. It is not a completely bad thing, but it is a TREND, and trends do not change lives or how we live, but for a short while. Now, please do not start your fired-up reply to my post until you get to the end (that is probably what I would do, but I beg you to hear me out fully before cursing at me 😉 ). And if you have been reading my blog for more than a week, you already know that I connect with God best through His creation.

This trend is towards creation-focused environmentalism. This trend is, I believe, a reaction from years of churches and Christians not focusing on what God called we humans to, in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:26). I also believe it is a reaction to our society’s strong focus on environmental awareness and concern for our planet’s ability to sustain itself … good things for certain … I repeat, good things for certain!

What I have problem with in regard to this trendy focus, is that the focus of Jesus, what He thought was most important, was a little different, and certainly not a trendy focus. The focus of Jesus, as He walked our God-created planet Earth, was made plainly, concisely and constantly.

In Matthew (22:37-40):

“Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

Mark (12:29-31):

“Jesus said, “the first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

Luke (10:25-28):

“Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?” He (Jesus) answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?” He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” “Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.””

The question is asked of Jesus, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law” (the Law meaning, the Torah, or the first five books of the Old Testament). Jesus response, as was often the case, referred back to the Law, (Deuteronomy 6:5), “love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!” But He didn’t stop there, he then continued on and referred to the Law again, when he told them what the second greatest commandment was (Leviticus 19:18), “love your neighbor as yourself.” (in the Luke passage, Jesus throws the question back to the scholar as to what the Law says, and he would seem to pair the two commands together as well).

It is in these three New Testament references, back to the Jewish Law, which are the focus of how we are to live, from the perspective of Jesus. It is in living as these references teach, that we find out “everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them,” “there is no other commandment that ranks with these,” and “do it and you’ll live.”

As I ponder what was most important to Jesus I wonder, if we loved our God with our whole hearts, and if we loved others as ourselves, would we not then naturally, wholeheartedly, and as a permanent lifestyle (as opposed to a trendy thing to do) choose, through loving our Creator and loving our fellow man, take care of the world that He placed us in?

Don’t forget sustainability and environmental stewardship, just put it in it’s place, and get focused on what is our greatest calling, since “there is no other commandment that ranks with these.

Griping is over for this week 😉

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