Tuesday, November 08, 2016

What love is...

or better yet, what it is not.

It is not condemnation.

  1. 1.
    express complete disapproval of; censure.

  2. 2.
    sentence (someone) to a particular punishment, especially death.
  3. 3.
    officially declare (something) to be unfit for use.

My kids are learning John 3:16 in our After School Klub and in homeschool this year.  It is our overall theme.  But I think that John 3:16 should never be memorized without John 3:17 attached.  Do you know what John 3:17 says?  I can quote both of them from memory.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him."

So the very act of love is defined and then it is immediately declared that there is no condemnation there.  The person who knows love more intimately than anyone could ever know love, did not come to condemn us.  He alone would have the right to stand in disapproval, sentence us to punishment and declare us unfit.  He alone had the right do all of those things, and he did not.  Not at that moment.  When He came to show us love, he offered us salvation, the very opposite of condemnation. He offered life, forgiveness and pardon.

And then again and again he showed us how to stand among sinners.  How to behave towards them.  How to quietly stand firm in the truth, but show love.  How to extend compassion and grace.  How to NOT condemn.

On very few occasions did Jesus become angry and call people out on their behavior.  Most of those times, it was after he had spelled out the truth for them and yet they still refused to believe.

Then Jesus said many times basically, "Go and do as I have done."  Wash feet.  Baptize.  Teach. Disciple.  Love. Heal. Lead. Put yourself last. Offer grace.  Offer truth.  Offer compassion.  Offer love.

You'll also notice that Jesus did not tell people to go and do whatever felt right.  He did not tell them to do what feels good.  He did not tell them "follow your heart."  He did not tell them that you are free to sin and be selfish and live life on your own terms.  These things are not love.

A day will come when the one who has the right to condemn will condemn, but until that day, everybody gets grace and mercy.  Until that day, I think we should follow His example.  We need to reexamine what love is.

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