I have been thinking non-stop about the call of Christians to love—and to do so because it is one of Jesus’ primary commands. In His context, though, love isn’t an emotion. It’s entering into relationship with our neighbors, being a part of their lives, and serving them with no agenda other than love.
The problem is that we Christians are so ‘concerned’ about the lifestyles and choices of the people around us that we either insulate ourselves from them—or shout our opinions from platforms like Facebook or the media. We proudly blast off letters to our politicians decrying what they’ve supported or rant about our weakening rights as Christians in the face of an increasingly liberal society. And we get so wrapped up in sharing our own views on everything–health, diets, medicine, politics, Christian ideologies—that we turn people off.
Principles and opinions are fine. But if expressing ourselves takes the focus off our relationship with Him—or alienates us from the real people we are in contact with every day who can only see Jesus as He moves within us– then this is not love. It’s a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
I’ve been there. And I’m grieving the relationships that have been wasted because of my indignant adherence to issues instead of people. So I’ve stepped off my high horse.
And I’ve found there’s nothing better than a quieter, more person-centered life. I’m learning to invest in the community of people around me—to be friends with those who lifestyles and opinions and economic standing is vastly different than mine. I’m not setting out to convict anyone of sin…the Bible says that’s God’s job (John 16:8).
But I am talking about Jesus. And for once, it’s not because of some agenda I have to save the lost, but because He’s the biggest part of who I am and I’d be a broken mess of shame without all He’s done for me.