Saturday, August 4, 2012

Which part of Love Don't You Understand?

So much to post about but at the moment, frustration and anger are getting the best of me.

The simplest yet most complicated (because we make it so) bit of the entire bible involves love.

The following italicized quotes are borrowed from Christians For Peace

Below are Jesus' words. Jesus never advocated any form of violence or dominance. Instead, He commanded us to love, show mercy, and to forgive others.

Non Violence: Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Matt 26:52.  

Meek, Merciful, and Peacemakers: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth... Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy... Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matt 5:5-9.

Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us: Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven..." Matt 18:21-22  

Love your Enemies: But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. Luke 6:27-32  

Love Your Neighbor, But Who is My Neighbor?: And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live." But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:25-37

All of Jesus' teachings center on love, humility, and mercy. The idea that we would fight a war in the name of Jesus is inconceivable, because Jesus taught us to love one another.

Early Church and New Testament Quotes for Peace

No Evil for Evil: Do not return evil for evil. Avenge not yourselves, but rather give way to wrath; for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsts, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

Do Not Hate: Whoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. I John 3:15

Do Not Hate: If anyone says, I love God, but hates the brothers or sisters, he is a liar...Whoever loves God must also love the brothers and sisters. I John 3:20, 21

No Revenge: See that none render evil for evil to any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. I Thessalonians 5:15

Can ANYONE point to any verse quoted above that suggests those who claim Christ are better because we claim relationship with Him? Can anyone find evidence in the words of Jesus to suggest that "repentant" sin is better or more acceptable to God than "unrepentant" sin? Can anyone find in His words where we "separate" ourselves from those who don't believe by putting ourselves above them in any way?

We are in the world but not of the world. (paraphrase) This does not mean we live segregated from anyone who does not share our beliefs. This means that we are new creatures with a promise of life beyond this world. While we live HERE, it's our job to follow the teachings of Jesus... and Jesus spoke more of love than anything else.

I don't want to bash other Christians. Y'all are my brothers and sisters. But the New Testament is pretty clear that while we are to correct one another in love, that correction is for those of us who believe in the Lordship of Jesus. It is neither our right nor our responsibility to sit in judgement of ANYONE else.

Granted, rebuking in love is a pretty tough prospect. Some have such a thin skin in regards to their faith that anything which doesn't follow their mindset is offensive, especially from another Christian.

I accept that I've reached a point in my walk with Christ (which is not now nor ever will be perfect) that I'm likely to incur the wrath of other Christians before anyone else because I WILL NOT let go of love. Not just love for my family in Jesus but love for ALL.

All this flap over Chick-Fil-A has brought out a lot of political and spiritual posturing. I haven't seen much in the way of love except for that poor cashier who was bashed by a customer who videotaped his stupidity. Her example is far closer to the one we should follow than most others I've seen on the web.

But this isn't about politics. This isn't about who is right and who is wrong (or who is more right over who is more wrong).

If we are in Christ, we are to live in His Spirit. If we live and grow in His Spirit, there are results. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

I've always seen Love and Self-Control as... almost bookends. They are the beginning and end of the rest.

I'm so tired of hate. From whichever direction it comes. I'll not be pulled into another one of these ridiculous internet/cultural wars.

No matter what anyone's personal beliefs, I've been called to love.

That's what I'm going to do.

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