A Little Understanding – Love Inwards
Loving upwards (God), loving outwards (non-Christ followers)… is something that can be more about appearance and less about truly loving with all we are. When it comes to fellow Christ followers we may not even extend the courtesy of appearing to be loving. Loving inwards for some reason is more difficult than loving upwards or outwards. Eternal life is set on the foundation of loving God and our neighbour, but does neighbour include other Christ followers?
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus uses the parable of the Good Samaritan to answer the question, who is my neighbour? Jesus’ story included two religious leaders that wouldn’t take the time to help this poor person who had been beaten and robbed. The only person who stopped to help was a half breed despised by the Jewish people for his mixed bloodlines (only part Jewish)…
How different would the parable of the Good Samaritan be today?
…A Christian was walking along a dark street one night when he was attacked, beaten, robbed and left for dead.
Not much different than the Bible version but it’s about to take a slightly different path!
A homeless man happened by. Due to his intoxicated state he did not see the dying man. Tripping over the body he staggered a few yards and fell to the ground. A group of church goers passed by after Bible study. Noticing the bloodied and beaten body on the side of the road one of them said, “hey isn’t that Jim from the 9 am service?”
“Yeah I think so” another person replied. “Wonder what made him think it was safe to walk alone on these streets?”
Another person in the group piped up, “he should know better than to do something stupid like this, you’re going to end up just like that when you walk alone in this neighbourhood.”
The first person asked the rest of the group, “does anyone have a cell phone – someone needs to call 9…” she stopped mid-sentence, interrupted by the sight of the drunken, stinky homeless man staggering to his feet. She points to him and says, “here’s our chance to live out what we talked about in Bible study.”
The group, as if they were all part of some animal herd, rush over to help the tipsy drinker forgetting all about the dying man. They made sure the homeless guy didn’t fall and hurt himself, offered to take him to a local shelter and invited him to church.
Who is my neighbour?
Looking outward from the church it isn’t hard to find a people group or an individual to demonstrate love through some form of service. When it comes to demonstrating love and serving those in our church we seem less eager to help but often quick to blame…
…There are not two categories of those we are called to love. There is no “he or she is a Christian, they should know better” group that we leave alone while we help those who we say “need Jesus”. We all need Jesus. We all mess up. We all should know better but we still go down the wrong road…
Unconditionally we love just like God, whether the person should have known better or not.
There is an irony to the reasoning behind the programs that we believe serve our community in a way that will peak their interest in the church. By showing how loving and caring Christians are we hope that people will want to become part of our collective of Christ followers… Sadly, love and caring are not often extended to those in the church by those in the church.
If the foundation of the church and our lives is love and the foundation is tied into the footings (God) by loving God and loving others then we must ask, are we fully secured to God?
When you hear of divorce tearing apart a family how do you respond? How does your church respond?
When pornography becomes the main use of the internet for a fellow believer what do you think of them? What does your church think of them?
When a youth is arrested or a mother shoplifts, do you pass judgement on the act or the person? Does your church view the person with grace or contempt?
Churches don’t split because of disagreements. Friends and family don’t have a falling out over different ways of doing things. Relationships are destroyed and churches ripped apart because love is not at the foundation.
Love cares enough to correct but is patient enough to wait for the right outcome. Love is often received poorly but still responds with kindness. Love wants others to have success and isn’t hurt when someone does better than I do. Love has no desire to tell others how great I am. Love doesn’t mistreat people or set out to advance me. It does not lose its cool when others let me down. Love doesn’t like evil things and isn’t happy when others do evil things. Love lives for the truth. Love always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Sound familiar? 1 Cor 13:4-7
From time to time my blog will include excerpts from my book “Blueprint.” Like any author/blogger, I find it difficult to leave the words I have written in my computer until a publisher can be found. Maybe it’s because someone somewhere needs to read these words now.