Love Beyond Tolerance
This last weekend whilest visiting a church I felt a ‘renewing’ (if you will) of the challenge to love like God does. (Being gut honest here) Love like God. Sigh. It is easy to love the lovely, those that fall in line with us completely, yet when we step off that platform, the ‘easiness’ seems to escape us. Trying not to reach and grab nicely packaged excuses, when loving requires practical application or even TALKING to them … loving enough to share Jesus with them…”Oh they are not like me…. they wont understand….their lifestyle is SO different than mine… what would I say ” or “they are gay, pierced, tattooed, divorced, addicted, ugly, they swear and frankly some may … ‘stink’.” But in my reality, I humanly state: “I will never love to the capacity that HE does.” None of us will, just because we are humanly limited, does NOT stop the attempt. With His grace, His guidance, power, unction, and filling, I will love. I have found that my desire is thrown beyond ‘tolerance’, beyond just getting around the person to move in a forward direction, treating them with invisible attentiveness. NO! God wants me to stop and ‘see’ them. Love them, speak to them (not at them) connect, lead and serve. “God so tolerated the world that He just let them go on their way.” NO! “God so LOVED the world that He gave…” Love, is giving… giving of ourselves. Then, there is ‘whosoever’ (another study)
I am confident at times we make this so much BIGGER than it really is. More complex than intended, more ‘self-ish’ than assigned. One of my dearest friends is a gay fellow at work. We get along much like bantering brother and sister. We have agreed to dis-agree. He was raised in the church, he knows what the Bible says, he doesn’t need ‘preaching’, he NEEDS love. He knows I care for him and yet I do not condone his lifestyle. He knows my love for God, His word and His stuff and people. Even in all this, he KNOWS I love. He jokes that we’d make a great prime-time TV show “Gay boy and preacher girl”.
One element that challenged me this weekend, the pastor in the pulpit shared this true story: A pastor friend of his felt compelled to challenge his folks to step out and tell people about Jesus, even if it is as simple as ‘God loves you’. Three different men shared with him later, that they felt God place someone on their mind immediately and chose to act on it. One guy shared, he called his brother, whom he hadn’t had much contact with over the years, called to say “Love ya brother and God loves you too,” and quickly hung up. The next guy was out working in his yard when his neighbor was out and as he waved, telling him have a good day and “God loves you”, the man walked away fast. The 3rd guy was sitting in the barber’s chair and gaining the courage, looked in the mirror and stated, “Bob, God loves you.” Bob, swung the guys chair around and said, “WHAT is going on… Last night my brother called me, this morning my neighbor and now YOU tell me God loves me.” Wonderful story. THAT is our God! What lengths will He go to get the message to us. Are we willing to be part of the orchestration of the message?
Paul writes to young Timothy, “…proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. – 2 Timothy 4:2 MSG (emphasis mine) As the King Jimmy puts it, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season” When asked, may we have an answer. When opportunity knocks us over, may we stand and stand FIRM on God and His word. And love.
Whom might we need to call, wave to and have our chair swung around in awe of what God is doing. Love beyond tolerance. Wake up to the invisible.
Closing with: “This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in Him, and He in us: He’s given us life from His life, from His very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent His Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.” 1 John 4:13-16 MSG John continues in verse 19, “We love because He first loved us.”
Love like God does.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)