I saw two young people this week at work. Their ages were four and six. The little girl, with pigtails neatly done said to this young man that she loved him. It was cute to say the least. Young love.
I think it is ridiculous how often we throw around the word ‘love.’ We use it so often; it seems to go out of style. We say we love our parents (which we should), we love our coffee (some really do) and we love life (not a bad thing at all). We even sometimes say that we love God. Love. It is a dangerous word we use everyday to express a variety of thoughts towards something or towards someone. Do we really love coffee or do we really just enjoy the flavor or the taste? Are we fond of our coffee selection because it wakes us up in the morning? I even ask the same question about our love for God. Do we really love God or are we solely happy that He exists? Are we in love with the person of God or the idea? Do we love God like we love ice cream or could our love for Him be so much greater that it exceeds true words of expression?
A guy I have not seen in many years was in the bank this past Monday. Five years ago, his son, my friend Jim committed suicide. I asked him how he was doing, taking some time to catch up and all. The long and short is that his wife had left him about a year ago. His home church was not helpful in providing encouragement through this family’s grieving process. Another church they went to told them that they only serve members of the church. If he and his family would like help, they would have to become members of the church – a year process. Another church told them that they were too busy to help him out for at least four months. Three different churches provided three different responses which all ended up being ridiculously pathetic. In tears, this man in the parking lot of a bank asked me a question I cannot answer: “Why, when our family was in such need of support and help, did the Church not love us?” I hate his question because it shows me that we are so far from where we are called to be as the Church. I had no answer for this man. The only response I had was, “I’m Sorry Mr. G.”
There is no excuse not to love others. There is no excuse. Why is it so hard to love others? Have we run so far from our moral and ethical standards of living, allow those in need to go at it alone? I believe with my heart of hearts that the only thing worth living for is love. Not your ice cream love. I am talking about real love. I even believe love is greater than the Gospel of Jesus itself. My reasoning is simple. The Gospel is: The announcement that Jesus is Lord. If we believe that God is love (1 Corinthians 13) and that Jesus was and is God, then Jesus is love. If I say that I am a follower of Jesus, and I do not love others greater than myself, what message does that send others? I believe the greatest testimony and litmus test to the Gospel is found in our actions to love others. If we desire to show Jesus to others, love others. Through our love, they will see Jesus and desire to know the greatest example of love. When we truly consider the truth, it is a simple equation.
My question is simple: Where have all the lovers gone? Where is the Church? Not the four-walled building with a roof on top but the body of Christ? Are we alive and ready to function as we were made to function? My hope is that love will continually show through us. As our love for others grow, so does our understanding of God grow. Let us love one another. For love is of God and anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love (1 John 4: 7-8). Let us love one another